Cyprus Mulls Selling Bond to Pay Russian Loan Off Early

FILE - Cypriot Financial minister Charis Georgiades, left, and European Commissioner for Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis speak to the media during a press conference after their meeting at the foreign ministry house in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday, March 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Eight years after Cyprus – then shut out of the markets and two years later getting a 10-billion euro ($11.31 billion) international bailout – needed a 1.57 billion ($1.78 billion) loan from Russia, the government is said to be looking at selling a bond to repay it early.

The loan was requested by then-President Demetris Christofias, a Communist with close Russian ties, as he wanted to avoid asking the European Union and Washington, D.C.-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) which put up a 2013 rescue package.

Finance Minister Haris Georgiades, who met new Central Bank Governor Constantinos Erodotou, said, “It is a fact that the data on the Cypriot economy in international markets is extremely positive and this creates some opportunities that we evaluate and will not hesitate to capitalize on,” likely soon.

“The main purpose is to carry out moves that further shield the Cypriot economy, taking advantage of the progress that has been made, the positive image that has now been created for our country,” the finance minister said, according to Kathimerini Cyprus.

He didn’t say whether the bond would be sought domestically or in Europe but that, “We are looking into the possibility and I will be able to make announcements very soon.”

This would not be the first time that Cyprus opts for early debt repayment. In July 2017 the government repaid almost one-third of its IMF loan. The Russian loan came with an interest rate of 2.5 percent.