Russia says keeps buying Fannie, Freddie debt

MOSCOW Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:16pm EDT

MOSCOW Aug 19 (Reuters) - Russia keeps buying securities of U.S. agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FNM.N FRE.N but at a lower scale than before, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told reporters on Tuesday.

Kudrin said the ministry considered other investments in its portfolio riskier at the moment compared to Fannie and Freddie and added that even if Russia sold its entire bond holding straight away it would not have made a loss.

Russia held about $100 billion in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Home Loan Banks' debt at the start of 2008, but last month the central bank said the investment had been reduced by about 40 percent with maturing short-term holdings often not being replaced.

The investments are part of Russia's near-$600 billion forex and gold reserves. (Reporting by Toni Vorobyova, writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Amie Ferris-Rotman)

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