MOSCOW, June 28 (Itar-Tass) —— Standard & Poor's gas confirmed Russia’s long-term foreign currency credit rating at BBB and long-term and short-term rouble credit rating at BBB+/A-2.
“The stable outlook reflects our assessment of balanced risks to the ratings,” S&P said in a statement. “Vulnerability of the budget and the economy to fluctuations in key export prices are offset by low government debt levels and the country’s slight net external asset position.”
Russia’s rating on the national scale was confirmed at ruAAA. The currency transfer and conversion risk for Russian non-sovereign borrowers remains at ВВВ.
The ratings affirmed reflect the amount of Russia’s liquid assets that exceeds its external debt. The upgrade of the nation’s short-term rating caused the revision of S&P’s assessment criteria.
At the same time, structural weaknesses of the Russian economy, specifically strong dependence on hydrocarbons and other raw materials, as well as weak political and economic institutions continue to be an obstacle to higher competitiveness of the national economy and have a negative impact on the investment climate and the business environment in general, S&P said.
The agency believes that the State Duma elections and the election of Vladimir Putin for a third presidential term will not lead to major changes in the policy. As a result, economic and fiscal reform will continue to go gradually, Russian state capitalism and close ties between politics and business are likely to remain in place, it said.
According to the baseline scenario, under which oil process will hover around 100 U.S. dollars per barrel, the budget balance will deteriorate in 2012 to a small deficit that will grow to 1.5 percent of GDP in 2015. S&P believes that with external assets generally exceeding the foreign debt Russia will not be able to preserve its positions as a net creditor by 2014
S&P expects Russia’s GDP to grow at a rate of 3.5 percent by 2015 and will be curbed by serious structural limitations, including the centralised state-controlled economy that encourages the creation of regional monopolies and hampers the development of competition, as well as by insufficient development of infrastructure and business environment that is largely unfavourable for both domestic and foreign investments.