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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Ready to Give Serbia $1.5Bln Loan

The government is ready to loan Serbia 1 billion euros ($1.46 billion) in return for the country letting Russian firms participate in various investment projects, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Monday.

But Russia will not provide loans to Ukraine and Belarus, although the final $500 million tranche of a $2 billion loan to Minsk will be paid, Kudrin said on the sidelines of an International Monetary Fund meeting in Istanbul.

The government had previously made the final tranche of the loan to Belarus contingent on reforms in the country’s monetary policy, which Kudrin said is being carried out successfully. Ukraine asked Russia for a $5 billion loan in February.

Russia will also invest $50 million in a fund providing loans to poor countries that have suffered from the financial crisis.

Russia is also considering a $3.5 billion euro loan to Bulgaria for the country’s Belene nuclear power plant.

But even as it is lending money to its neighbors, Russia will ask the World Bank for up to $4 billion in loans, Kudrin said Saturday.

The state wants the terms of the loan to be simplified and not include any demands for Russia to reform its economic policies.

“If this credit will be accompanied with some kind of conditions that we change our economic policies … we won’t go for this loan,” Kudrin said.

The rates on the loan should be less than those on eurobonds, said Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin, Prime-Tass reported.

Russia’s commitment to buy $10 billion of bonds from the International Monetary Fund is not preconditioned on reform of the institution, Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said Monday.

The BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China are pushing for emerging markets to have a 50 percent say at the IMF.

Developed nations agree a shift of vote quotas is needed, but think the change should be a smaller one. The BRIC countries have indicated that their pledges of extra cash to boost IMF coffers during the global economic crisis — $80 billion in total — are firmly tied to reform.

But Ulyukayev denied such a link for Russia.

“It is not linked at all. These $10 billion are our hard commitment, without a link to the change in quotas,” he told reporters in Istanbul.

Russia could purchase the bonds by the end of the year, he said.

(Reuters, Vedomosti, MT)