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Moody’s cuts Russia's Sberbank, VEB to Baa3 after sovereign rating downgrade

January 19, 2015, 19:21 UTC+3 LONDON
Moody’s explained its decision by the expectation that “the substantial oil price and exchange rate shock will further undermine the country's already subdued growth prospects over the medium term”
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LONDON, January 19. /TASS/. Moody’s Investors Service has cut the long-term ratings of Russia’s state-owned lenders Sberbank, Vnesheconombank (VEB) and the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending by one notch to Baa3 from Baa2, the international rating agency said on Monday.

The rating cut to Baa3, the lowest investment-grade level under Moody’s classification, follows Russia’s sovereign rating downgrade, the agency said.

Moody's downgraded Russia's government bond rating on January 16 to Baa3/Prime 3 (P-3) from Baa2/Prime 2 (P-2), with the rating placed on review for further downgrade.

Moody’s explained its decision by the expectation that “the substantial oil price and exchange rate shock will further undermine the country's already subdued growth prospects over the medium term.”

The international rating agency also pointed to its “nearer-term concerns over the negative impact on the government's financial strength of the erosion in official foreign exchange buffers and fiscal revenues.”

In its review for further downgrade, “Moody's will assess the resiliency of the government's balance sheet, in particular its foreign currency reserves cushion, to both the rating agency's baseline forecast for oil prices and to the risk of a further decline in oil prices at a time when international market access is restricted for Russian borrowers due to sanctions,” the agency said.

“The review will also focus on the efficacy of policy actions that the Russian central bank and fiscal policymakers may take to address the oil and exchange rate shock in an effort to preserve economic and government financial strength,” Moody’s said.

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