In the run-up to Eastern Economic Forum-2019 (further EEF), analysts of the ACRA rating agency have prepared a research named Far Eastern Federal District Long-Term Financing by Bonds. The paper gives insight into sources of financing for the Far Eastern regions and has been developed in partnership with the Roscongress Foundation. It has become the first joint project of ACRA and the Roscongress Foundation based on their expert and analytical cooperation.
One of the main findings of the research is the conclusion that regions of the Far Eastern Federal District (FEFD) will not be able to cover the expenditures planned for the current year on their own. This is obvious even in spite of the 2018 budget surplus and the growth of their own earnings in the early 2019. The total demand of the FEFD for debt financing is estimated to be around 180 billion rubles for the period from 2019 to 2021. This issue is going to be most pressing in Khabarovsk Territory, Yakutia and Buryatia. Financing of the Far Eastern regions greatly relies on federal budget transfers: nearly all FEFD regions have the share of government transfers in excess of the country average (19%), and in some regions, this share is as high as 40% or more.
Given this situation, ACRA is drawing attention to a significant untapped potential of the Far Eastern regions from the point of view of bond issue. Currently, the FEFD accounts for only 5% of outstanding bonds issued by regional government bodies; and Yakutia is the only Far Eastern region regularly floating its bonds. According to the ACRA estimates, servicing bonds will be cheaper for the regions than servicing bank loans that have recently been favoured by the FEFD regions.