April 2, 2019 / 1:14 PM / in 22 days

Russia relaxes rules for companies wanting to raise funds in China

FILE PHOTO: A Russian flag flies over Russian Central Bank headquarters in Moscow, Russia December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has relaxed rules for companies that want to raise funds in China at a time when access to Western markets is limited by U.S. sanctions, a central bank official said on Tuesday.

Russian companies had been able to borrow cheaply abroad but have faced handicaps in raising money in the West since 2014 when Europe and the United States imposed sanctions against Moscow over its role in the Ukrainian crisis.

Elena Kuritsyna, Director of the Corporate Relations Department at the central bank, said that after talks with Chinese regulators, Russia in late 2018 amended its securities markets laws to help companies raise funds in China to compensate for the lack of access to European debt markets.

“We wanted to make debt raising an easier exercise for Russian companies,” Kuritsyna told reporters, presenting the changes that the central bank had made.

The changes allow Russian companies to issue Eurobonds, or bonds denominated in currencies other than the rouble, outside Russia without the need to get permission from the Bank of Russia, Kuritsyna said.

“We see interest in this instrument, especially ... given the current geopolitical situation,” Kuritsyna said, without giving any information on the possible amount of funds that Russian companies can or want to borrow in China.

Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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