Structured Bonds Boom as Ruble Spurs Barclays: Russia Credit

October 25, 2010

Sales of structured notes denominated in rubles may quadruple in the next year as investors snap up the securities to profit from the economic rebound in the world’s biggest energy-exporting nation.

Issuance of credit-linked notes, whose returns are based on the performance of underlying debt, will likely surge three or fourfold within 12 months. While banks disclosed 7.3 billion rubles ($243 million) of structured debt sales this year, the actual amount is will probably be much larger. Experts anticipate that disclosed deals may reach $1 billion by the end of next year.

Several large western banks are reviving the market for structured debt after 2.3 billion rubles of sales in 2009 as investors seek ways to sidestep requirements that include registering with a local broker, a process that can take as long as a year. Russia’s recovery from its worst recession on record is luring foreign investors expecting ruble bonds to catch up after underperforming Brazil and China this year.

Experts anticipate that Russian structured will grow significantly in the next eight to 12 months. This growth will be spurred by investors’ appetite for riskier assets.

Russian ruble debt returned only a third of Brazil’s rate and and 40% less than the rate of return of the JPMorgan’s Emerging Local Markets Plus Index.

Issuance is picking up as investor confidence improves after Russia’s record 7.9% economic contraction last year. The economy will grow by 3.9 to 4.5% each of the next three years. The recovery is being spurred by an increase in the price of oil, Russia’s main export, which traded above $80 a barrel through October.

The ruble will strengthen 6.9% against the central bank’s target currency basket of dollars and euros by the end of next year, according to the median of five forecasts. Non-deliverable forwards, or NDFs, which provide a guide to expectations of currency movements and interest rate differentials and allow companies to hedge against currency movements, show the ruble at 30.27 per dollar in three months.