West German banks have signed a declaration of intent to extend an unprecedented 10 billion deutsche marks (about $5.3 billion) to the Soviet Union , Monitor correspondent Elizabeth Pond reports. A spokesman for Deutsche Bank confirmed the agreement, signed sometime in November, after the magazine Der Spiegel reported it in the Nov. 17 issue.
The bank spokesman declined to give details. But Der Spiegel reports a favorable 10-year, 7.75 percent interest credit by the consortium of some 20 West German banks. It is ear-marked to fund the pending pipes-for-gas deal under which Mannesmann would export 3,000 miles of steel pipe to the Soviet Union and the Soviets would export a total 40 billion cubic meters of gas a year , starting in 1984, to a consortium of Western European companies led by Ruhrgas. The Soviet share of the West German natural gas market would thus rise from its present 16 percent to 30 percent.