Granted, the deal was perhaps not the most sensitive timing for investors and their frazzled nerves, coming as it did just days after Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships off the Crimean Peninsula.
But perhaps especially given its maritime manoeuvres, Russia has every reason to believe the bond markets are going to get harder for them to access. Not only is it facing the same broader market problems facing all EM issuers — rising US rates, a stronger dollar and only a week or so left until investors shut up shop for the holidays — but it has its own set of problems: the potential for a fresh set of US sanctions in the new year which could well prevent Russia from raising international bonds bought by US investors.
GlobalCapital was told this week by sources close to the deal that neither Russia's March deal — sold less than a week after the poisoning of Sergey Skripal in the UK — nor this November's note were designed to flaunt Russia’s access to markets. Rather, they were more about Russia being determined to ignore the geopolitical noise and stick to its preordained bond market course.
That may well be case. But even if it is not, printing bonds before the market turns against you would — for any other issuer — be hailed as a savvy move. Especially if, as the deal on Tuesday showed, there was more than ample demand for your paper.