Sergey Vasilyev, entrepreneur, publicist
The American administration scares us with the words of the White House press secretary.
"They will have to choose between depleting their remaining valuable dollar reserves... or announce the default", - Psaki reported.
As if hinting that we will have to use the free, remaining unfrozen reserves or those that are formed new ones in order to pay off state and corporate external debts or go into a terrible... default!
Is he that scary?
Let's figure it out.
The scheme currently being implemented by our Ministry of Finance, when we open special ruble C-accounts inside Russia, where we send all payments on external debts / coupons / interest, in ruble equivalent on the date of payment, immediately confuses the external creditor.
What should he do?
Any external creditor is well aware of the situation that Russia has real foreign exchange assets and they lie on correspondent accounts in Western banks. It's just that the Western powers temporarily froze them.
Is it worth it to go to court against Russia over this kind of "default", or is it easier to wait for a defrosting? In addition, the Ministry of Finance opened C-accounts for all external creditors and transferred rubles there, which this creditor can now use.
For example, he can buy new OFZ issues from this C-account or buy them on the secondary market with a good ruble yield. And taking into account the growing ruble, he will also be able to earn huge profitability in foreign currency. It is clear that this investor will not be able to convert these rubles from the C-account into foreign currency until the external gold reserves are unfrozen, but maybe it is worth earning in rubles?
And convert it into currency and withdraw it abroad later?
These internal doubts will begin with Western creditors as soon as they receive their statement on the ruble balance in their C-account. And someone will surely recognize this as more attractive than hanging around Western courts. And he will start using rubles from C-accounts for new investments within Russia.
But if at least one of yesterday's creditors uses his C-account, then he immediately recognizes the legitimacy of the Ministry of Finance's scheme and there will be no "default" for him. But if one of the creditors did not have a “default” on payments, then this “default” remained with others, who will not use C-accounts?
This is already a question for lawyers and lawyers, and the question is not idle. Not only that, the freezing of external gold reserves is in itself a difficult case for international litigation. Did Western Governments have the right to restrict the use of external gold reserves of the Central Bank of Russia for settlement of external obligations of the Government and Russian companies? And are the rights of creditors limited if the Russian Ministry of Finance gives investors rubles on internal C-accounts, and if some of the investors did use them?
In general, this is a trial for a long time. And knowing the slowness of Western courts and lawyers, who are only interested in dragging out any lawsuits, as they feed on hourly wages, we understand that these are years and years.
And how long will the Russian-Ukrainian conflict last? Well, a month, well, two, well, let it be a year, but not years.
And is it worth it then to go into this litigation, if right now you can use rubles from C-accounts and try to somehow earn money on it, or use them for other exchange/offset schemes and so on. What is stupid - to loiter in the courts.
And it turns out that for our Ministry of Finance and Russian companies that are facing external debt payments, we need to boldly go for this quasi “default”.
We will only benefit from this.