Russia lost the last avenue to service its foreign-currency loans after the US removed an exemption last month that allowed US investors to receive Moscow’s payments.
“On 27 June, holders of Russia’s sovereign debt had not received coupon payments on two eurobonds worth $100m by the time the 30-calendar-day grace period expired, which we consider an event of default under our definition,” Moody’s said.
Moscow owes $US100 million ($144 million) in interest on one bond priced in dollars and another priced in euros that was originally due on May 27.
“Further defaults on future coupon payments are likely,” the agency said in a statement.
Moscow said yesterday there were “no grounds to call this situation a default” as the payments did not reach creditors due to the “the actions of third parties”.
The country last defaulted on its foreign debt in 1918, when Bolshevik revolution leader Vladimir Lenin refused to recognise the massive debts of the deposed tsar’s regime.
Once that happens, provisions say all Russia’s other foreign bonds are also in default, and bondholders could then seek a court judgement to enforce payment.
Since 2014, the last time the West sanctioned Russia over its annexation of Crimea, the Kremlin had built up about $640 billion in foreign reserves. About half of those funds are now frozen under Western sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine.The G7 Group of developed nations will announce a ban on Russian gold imports in broader sanctions on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, US President Joe Biden said on Sunday.
“Together, the G7 will announce that we will ban the import of Russian gold, a major export that rakes in tens of billions of dollars for Russia,” Biden wrote on Twitter.
The US president also claimed that Washington “has imposed unprecedented costs” on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
How much does Russia owe?
About $US40 billion ($58 billion) in foreign-currency bonds, about half of that was sold to foreigner buyers.
Before the start of the war, Russia had around $US640 billion ($922 billion) in foreign currency and gold reserves, much of which was held overseas and is now frozen.
Russia has not defaulted on its international debts since the Bolshevik Revolution, when the Russian Empire collapsed and the Soviet Union was created.