June 18, 2018 / 2:20 PM / a month ago

Russia's RDIF pledges to attract over $110 bln from global funds

MOSCOW, June 18 (Reuters) - Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund aims to attract over 7 trillion roubles ($110 billion) from its global partners into infrastructure and technologies, part of its contribution to President Vladimir Putin’s move to boost the economy.

After being sworn in for a fourth term as president in May, Putin said he wants to make upgrading Russia’s often decrepit infrastructure one of the priorities of his 2018-2024 term as part of a drive to raise living standards.

Putin has talked of building new roads, regional airports and upgrading sea ports and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has proposed setting up a special fund to finance projects until 2024, worth up to 3 trillion roubles.

RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev told Reuters last month that the fund and some of its partners, including sovereign wealth funds from Asia and the Middle East, planned to take part in the project via co-investments and potentially buying OFZ treasury rouble bonds.

At the meeting with Putin on Monday, Dmitriev said that RDIF may attract over 7 trillion roubles from its partners globally in co-investments into infrastructure and technology. These funds would come on top of the 3 trillion roubles pledged by Siluanov.

“These investments will allow an increase to the gross domestic product of 2 percents (percentage points) a year,” Dmitriev said, according to the transcript of the meeting published by the Kremlin.

The Russian economy and the rouble were hit hard by western sanctions first introduced in 2014 following the annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. The sanctions were later expanded, including by the United States, in April.

The economy started to return to growth last year and is expected to expand by 1.5-2 percent in 2018 as long as there are no major external shocks, according to the central bank. Putin has called for growth exceeding the world’s average.

Dmitriev also told Putin on Monday that Saudi Arabia, whose Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was on a visit to Moscow last week, has agreed to invest a total of $10 billion into Russia, of which the first $2 billion were already invested into different areas.

Russia will gradually raise the pension age and increase state debt, which along with higher taxes such as the planned increase in the value added tax should allow the budget to find funds to meet Putin’s orders for the next six years.

$1 = 63.4460 roubles Reporting by Katya Golubkova Editing by Richard Balmforth

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