Putin Criticizes Eurobond Plans

The economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized government plans to issue Eurobonds next year to help cope with a peak in foreign debt payment due in 2003. "The year of 2003 is not dangerous for us because we shall be able to cope with all debt payments. But I do not understand why new borrowing is needed," the adviser, Andrei Illarionov, told a news conference. The government plans to tap international markets with up to $2 billion Eurobond next year, the first time since the 1998 economic crisis led to a near default on foreign and domestic debt. The government says the borrowing will help the country pay about $19 billion in foreign debt servicing and repayment which falls due in 2003 after about $14 billion this year and next. But Illarionov opposes any new hard currency inflows into the country whose coffers are bursting from oil and metals dollars, saying too much foreign currency undermines the economy, the Russia Journal wrote.

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