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Russia May Sell Bonds in Euros Next Year to Help Companies, Pankin Says

Russia may sell its first bonds denominated in euros next year as the government seeks to set a “benchmark” to help domestic companies borrow in the common European currency, Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin said.

“As part of our debt strategy, we think it would be appropriate,” Pankin told reporters in Washington, where he’s attending the annual conference of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Mexico’s recent success in selling so-called century notes shows that “demand is high for long-term paper,” Pankin said. “It would be interesting to take advantage of that.” Mexico this week sold $1 billion of bonds due in 100 years in the longest-maturity debt issued by a Latin American country.

Russia in April sold its first international bonds since defaulting on domestic debt in 1998, raising $5.5 billion. If the government decides to sell bonds in euros it may seek a similar amount, though the priority continues to be selling ruble debt to help cover the budget deficit, Pankin said.

Russia’s government is stepping up domestic borrowing to help cover a 2010 fiscal shortfall forecast at 5.3 percent of gross domestic product. The world’s biggest energy supplier posted a deficit of 5.9 percent of GDP last year, its first since 1999.

Russia borrowed a record 293 billion rubles ($9.7 billion) in the third quarter and will seek to raise 300 billion rubles in the last three months of this year to help finance its budget deficit after the worst economic slump on record last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Abelsky in Moscow at pabelsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brad Cook in Moscow at Bcook7@bloomberg.net

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