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World’s rating agencies to affirm Russia’s sovereign rating in mid-January — minister

December 26, 2014, 17:14 UTC+3
On December 23, S&P placed Russia’s sovereign rating on a negative credit watch with a possible downgrade due to the ruble’s high volatility and the weakening economy
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© TASS/Mikhail Metzel

MOSCOW, December 26. /TASS/. The world’s rating agencies will adopt a final decision on Russia’s sovereign rating in mid-January, 2015, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters on Friday.

“The final decision will be made in the middle of January,” he said.

On December 23, the world’s rating agency S&P placed Russia’s sovereign rating on a negative credit watch with a possible downgrade due to the ruble’s high volatility and the weakening economy. Russia’s foreign currency sovereign rating stands at BBB-and its national currency rating — at BBB.

Fitch plans to review Russia’s ratings in January 2015. Nevertheless, Fitch regards Russia’s sovereign and external balances at the current level of BBB with a negative forecast as the budget benefits from the declining ruble, with the country having a budget surplus.

Meanwhile, Moody’s recently downgraded the foreign currency rating of Russian energy giant Gazprom and its supported entities to Baa2 from Baa1 with a negative outlook. Also, the agency affirmed for a further downgrade the ratings of more than 60 Russian companies, including Tatneft oil company and Nizhnekamskneftekhim petrochemical company. The agency said it had placed the ratings on review for possible downgrade due to the continued deterioration of the operational environment and the situation on the Russian financial market.

On Thursday, Andrey Belousov, the presidential aide and former economy minister, said: “There are no grounds for international rating agencies to revise down Russia’s investment-grade rating.”

The motives of rating levels with regard to Russia “are rather far-fetched and are exclusively of presumable nature,” he said.

Also, Russia’s possible downgrade below the investment rating to BB+ could be expected only from S&P while its ratings assigned by Fitch and Moody’s still have two notches above the non-investment grade, he said. “At best, we’ll stay somewhere in between the investment and non-investment rating,” he added.

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