Embroiled in a recession, Russia is looking abroad to raise revenue. The Kremlin has asked dozens of international banks and investment partners to consider issuing a bond on its behalf.
If the plan moves forward, it will represent the country’s first effort to leverage foreign capital in this manner since Russia was slapped with Western sanctions in 2014 following the war in Ukraine. Russia last issued a so-called Eurobond in 2013 valued at $7 billion.
Already the nation’s finance ministry has spoken with 25 Russian and foreign investment banks about the possibility of issuing a bond. Though final plans have not been nailed down, one unnamed banking executive told the Financial Times the country would hope to raise about $3.3 billion.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the Bank of China and Citigroup Inc. are on the short list of banks that could partner with the Russian government for the issuance, alongside Russian firms including VTB Group, Sberbank PJSC and Gazprombank JSC.
The option of a bond has become increasingly attractive to Russian leaders and finance officials. Russia claimed control of Crimea in March 2014, angering its Western neighbors in Europe as well as the U.S. In response, those countries imposed strict sanctions. They froze the foreign assets of Russian officials, instituted travel bans and prohibited the country from purchasing oil technology or military equipment from within Europe or America.
Since then, Russia’s economy has dipped into a recession. The country’s economic minister declared the recession had ended in November. But the low price of oil, which is Russia’s largest export, has kept economic growth at bay.
Currently Russia is facing its largest budget shortfall in five years, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile Western leaders including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have recently hinted that they may relax sanctions on Russia in the coming year. Until then, the bond could help the nation's finance officials make up the difference.