Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation
Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation

Statements of Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation S.Storchak to press agencies at 2011 World Bank -IMF Spring meetings


EBRD likely to approve Egypt aid in May -Russia

WASHINGTON, April 15 (Reuters) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is likely to approve lending to Egypt during its annual meeting in May, Russia's Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said late on Thursday.

"All is leading to the expansion of the mandate of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development," Storchak told reporters after a meeting in Washington to discuss the political unrest that has swept the Middle East and North Africa.

"Either both countries (Egypt and Tunisia) ... or one of them will become a country of the bank's operations."

Thursday's meeting included U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, as well as officials from Canada, Japan, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Tunisia and other countries.

The officials issued a statement saying that they were prepared to back assistance to Arab nations, but the declaration lacked details.

An EBRD source told Reuters support for the private sector in Egypt -- the Arab world's most populous country, dogged by a gaping divide between rich and poor -- could reach 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) a year by 2015.

Egypt's finance minister also said on Thursday that Egypt was seeking $10 billion in budget support.

Agreeing to help Egypt would mark an expansion of the EBRD's traditional focus on former Soviet bloc nations and Storchak said the bank seems to be ready for the task.

EBRD President Thomas Mirow "said that if there is a mandate, the bank is ready to ... use its experience," Storchak said. "I think that leading shareholders will not fail to take up the issue of granting the bank a mandate so Egypt becomes a country for its operations."

The EBRD's annual meeting will take place on May 20-21 in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.

Storchak said the finance ministers had asked development banks, including the EBRD and the World Bank, by the end of May to come up with the parameters of economic programmes, which would allow to overcome the consequences of such conflicts as in Egypt and Tunisia in the shortest possible time.

The EBRD, set up after the Cold War to help former communist countries in eastern Europe make the transition to market economies, invests in 29 countries, mainly in the private sector.

It is funded by 61 countries -- including Russia -- as well as the EU and the European Investment Bank.


Russia ready to issue 40 bln rouble Eurobond top-up

WASHINGTON, April 15 (Reuters) - Russia is ready to tap international investors for a second time this year, with an up to 40 billion rouble ($1.41 billion) top-up to the 7-year domestic currency Eurobond issued in February.

"The ideal option, first of all, would be to copy the rouble Eurobond placement," Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak told journalists at the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank spring meeting in Washington.

"Right now, as far as I know, market conditions are good."

In February, Russia raised 40 billion roubles with its first-ever rouble Eurobond, selling the debt at par with a yield of 7.85 percent, down from initial guidance of around 8 percent.

Storchak said that the terms of the top-up should match those of the original issue, which currently yields 7.05 percent on the secondary market <RU056408754=>.

The rouble bond market has benefited this year from a strong currency, boosted by high oil prices, and ample domestic liquidity. But a third pillar of support -- expectation of monetary tightening from the central bank -- is slowly fading as inflation shows signs of having stabilised.

Earlier this week, Storchak told Reuters that Moscow should be present on the bond market even though crude prices, which provide a major chunk of revenues for the export-oriented economy, have stayed nearly 50 percent above forecast for weeks.

He added that Russia should aim to borrow, in addition to rouble debt, at least $2.4 billion abroad each year in dollars as well as euros, to maintain investor interest even as rallying oil prices reduce its funding needs.

The interview prompted analysts to speculate that Russia could be preparing to tap the international markets again in coming weeks.

"Borrowers should be on the market -- they send a good signal," Storchak said on Friday.