New York (CNN Business) – Russia says it has ordered $ 117 million in interest payments to be made to investors on Wednesday in a bid to prevent that. First International Default For more than a century. But he had not yet left the forest.
This is because the funds that the country used to repay the debt came from Russia’s frozen foreign assets, which were allowed to attack Ukraine, so it is not clear whether investors will get their money back.
Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told state media Russia Today that the country has fulfilled its obligations to debtors. But “the possibility or inability to fulfill our obligations in foreign currency is not up to us,” according to Silvanov RT, who warned that the United States could not pay if rejected.
“We have the money, we paid, and now the ball is in the court of the United States,” he said.
A Treasury spokesman said the United States would allow the payment.
The two coupons Russia must pay in mature dollar-denominated eurobonds are the first test of Russia’s ability to repay its debts as the world imposes massive sanctions on its economy.
Russia has said it will try to pay in rubles instead of the dollar if the US stops paying. But Fitch Ratings said Tuesday that the move could be default.
This illustrates the crisis in which Russia finds itself: the nation has the money to pay its debts. According to Silvano, half of those funds will not be accessible after the West imposes unprecedented sanctions on its foreign exchange reserves, totaling $ 315 billion.
If the Russian government fails, investor losses will begin to accumulate.
Western investors are less exposed to Russia than ever before. Sanctions following the annexation of Crimea in 2014 have already encouraged them to reduce their exposure. But according to the Bank for International Solutions, Russian companies owe about $ 121 billion to international banks.
JP Morgan estimates that Russia had $ 40 billion in foreign currency debt at the end of last year, half of which was held by foreign investors. A default would be bad news for Russia, which has no access to external funding and will have to meet its obligations in its almost worthless currency. But global markets will not be much affected.
More money is due soon. The huge $ 2 billion planned for early April could create another major headache for Moscow.
– CNN’s Lindsay Isaac, John Harwood and Julia Horowitz contributed to this report