December 22, 2016 / 5:25 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Russia says yuan bond a priority but no issuance timetable set

(Adds details on securities MOUs)

By Samuel Shen and Matthew Miller

SHANGHAI, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Russia and China have not set a timetable for the issuance of a benchmark Russian treasury bond denominated in yuan, as both sides continue to discuss technical and regulatory issues, a Russian finance ministry official said on Thursday.

“It’s a priority project now,” Artem Sharibzhanov, an official in the Ministry of Finance’s Department of Public Debt and Sovereign Financial Assets, told Reuters.

Sharibzhanov was in Shanghai attending a cross-border investment forum hosted by the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Moscow Exchange to promote closer ties between Chinese and Russian capital markets.

CITIC Securities and Galaxy Securities signed memorandums of understanding with the Moscow Exchange on the sidelines of that event, in deals that will see Chinese brokerages providing access for their clients to Russian securities traded in Moscow.

The deal also could provide assistance for Chinese companies that want to list their securities on the Moscow bourse.

Wang Yuan, a Moscow Exchange supervisory board member, said the cooperation agreements are part of an effort to build financial infrastructure.

Russia has sought to deepen ties with China since relations with the West soured over the Ukraine conflict in 2014.

U.S. and European Union sanctions and a collapse in global oil prices have hurt the Russian economy and starved it of much-needed foreign investment.

As part of those efforts, Russia has said it wants to raise the equivalent of $1 billion by issuing OFZ government bonds in Russia denominated in Chinese yuan.

It initially hoped to issue the yuan bonds this year, but the issue is now more likely early next year.

In September Chinese bank ICBC was appointed a clearing bank for settling yuan transactions in Russia, and in March the Russian central bank said it had successfully tested currency swaps with the People’s Bank of China and that they were ready for use to support bilateral trade and direct investment. (Reporting By Samuel Shen and Matthew Miller; Additional reporting by Alexander Winning in Moscow; Editing by Richard Pullin and Eric Meijer)

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