Russia no longer holds U.S. agency debt

MOSCOW - Russia has fully exited its holding of U.S. mortgage agency debt, central bank chairman Sergei Ignatyev said on Friday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 30 Jan 2009, 7:18 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:36 AM

Russia had held the debt as part of its gold and forex reserves, the world’s third largest. But it started reducing the holding last year, and not replacing any maturing paper with new.

As of Nov. 1 Russia held Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds worth $20.9 billion. At the start of 2008 it held $65.6 billion worth, with most of it due to mature during the year.

“We sold it all, there is nothing left,” Ignatyev told journalists. “We made a good profit.”

The agencies, hurt by rising delinquencies and falling securities values, were seized by the U.S. government last September.

News of Russia’s holding of their bonds caused a domestic backlash, with some saying the money should be invested at home and others worried about possible losses.

Officials tried to reassure the public, saying the holdings were in bonds rather than in the agencies’ rapidly falling shares, and that no money had been lost on the investment.

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