Moscow considers ways to help foreigners sell Russian stocks and bonds – finance ministry

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Pedestrians walk past the building of the Russian Ministry of Finance in Moscow, Russia, March 30, 2021. A sign reads: ‘Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation’. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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June 16 (Reuters) – Russian authorities are discussing the idea of ​​giving foreign investors who want to reduce their exposure to Russia a chance to dump their Russian stocks and bonds later this year despite capital controls, it said on Thursday. an official from the Ministry of Finance.

Russian authorities imposed capital controls days after Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24, hitting foreign investors in Russia who lost access to their stock and bond holdings.

Ivan Chebeskov, head of the finance ministry’s financial policy department, said authorities are exploring the possibility of granting foreign investors the option to sell their assets in a separate order book.

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“We are discussing a second order book and separating it from the regular order book because we think western investors might behave in a non-market way. They just need to sell and that’s it,” he said. Chebeskov told reporters.

But not all foreign investors want to exit the Russian market, so this separate order book would also give them the opportunity to buy Russian assets at low prices while others seek to sell them at any price, he said. said Chebeskov.

Russia is also considering using cryptocurrencies in its barter trade with other countries, but it needs to amend the civil code to legalize such digital assets as property, Chebeskov said.

Russian officials are wrestling with how to regulate the country’s crypto market and the use of digital currencies, with the finance ministry opposing calls for a ban from the central bank.

“The central bank is not against using cryptocurrencies to pay… They realize that if we have cryptos in Russia, it would be nice to get rid of them,” Chebeskov said.

Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said earlier on Thursday that cryptocurrencies should not be used in Russia as a means of payment.

The discussions have been going on for months and although the government expects that cryptocurrencies will sooner or later be legalized as a means of payment, no consensus has yet been reached.

Allowing crypto as a means of settlement for international trade would help counter the impact of Western sanctions, which have seen Russia’s access to traditional cross-border payment mechanisms “limited”, Chebeskov said last month.

Unprecedented sanctions for what Russia calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine have hammered financial markets and Russian imports by disrupting the trade and supply chain.

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Reuters Editing reporting by Mark Heinrich

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