China Construction Bank makes foray into Russia

MOSCOW, March 6 Wed Mar 6, 2013 11:23am EST

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MOSCOW, March 6 (Reuters) - China Construction Bank , one of China's top four state banks, is set to open a branch in Russia, the central bank said on Wednesday, as Moscow forges closer ties with its energy-hungry neighbour.

The bank is awaiting a licence to conduct business in Russia, the central bank said.

China Construction Bank is bucking the trend of foreign lenders leaving Russia to cut costs and mitigate the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged domestic energy companies to forge close ties with fast-growing markets in Asia.

Russia's top crude producer, Rosneft, has been in talks with China over a loan in exchange for increasing oil supplies, while top natural gas producer Gazprom is trying to secure a gas supply deal with the Asian powerhouse.

Several Chinese lenders, including Bank of China (Eluosi), already operate in Russia.

($1 = 30.6569 Russian roubles) (Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by David Cowell)

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