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Russia 'may' end ban on buying Spanish debt

Source: Reuters - Tue 18th Jan 2011

Russia may start buying Spanish debt again after it suspended bond purchases in 2010, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Tuesday, citing Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Zhukov.

"The success of Spain's recent debt issue has demonstrated confidence in its economy's growth and that has not gone unnoticed in Russia," El Pais quoted Zhukov as saying.

The paper added that he said: "We have grounds to revise our position."

Zhukov was meeting with Spain's recently-appointed foreign minister, Trinidad Jimenez, on her first official trip to Russia.

Russia stopped buying Spanish paper in 2010 after ratings agencies cut Madrid's credit rating. Moscow's willingness to resume debt purchases follows comments by Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang earlier in January that China would continue to buy Spanish paper. An unconfirmed report in El Pais saying that China would buy up to 6 billion euros of Spanish debt provided some relief to debt markets, where many investors have been raising bets on Spain needing a Ireland-style bailout.

Spain will launch its first sale of treasury bills this year on Tuesday. The Treasury had planned a long-term bonds auction for Thursday but scrapped it on Monday in favor of selling 6 billion euros of 10-year bonds to a syndicate of banks.

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