MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. S&P Global Ratings said on Friday it had affirmed Russia’s foreign currency sovereign credit rating at BBB-/A-3 with stable outlook.
"On July 16, 2021, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'BBB-/A-3' long-and short-term foreign currency and 'BBB/A-2' long-and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings on Russia. The outlooks on the long-term ratings are stable," the international ratings agency said in a statement.
According to S&P, Russia's strong external and fiscal balance sheets would be able to absorb risks to fiscal or financial stability stemming from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and possible additional international sanctions.
Pressure on the ratings could build up in the case of materially tighter international sanctions, leading to significant capital outflows and elevated financial stability risks. The agency also leaves a possibility of a negative rating action if the government's balance sheet deteriorates substantially.
An upgrade would likely be premised on abating geopolitical risks and improved GDP growth, S&P said.
Rating upside could also emerge if the government's fiscal buffers significantly exceed the agency’s current expectations, "which could help mitigate commodity-related revenue volatility," and if effective policy measures are taken to address long-term fiscal pressures from an aging population.
The Russian Finance Ministry views S&P Global Ratings decision to affirm Russia’s foreign currency sovereign credit rating at BBB-/A-3 with stable outlook as an illustration that its economic policy has been correct, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters on Friday.
"The decision by S&P Global Ratings to affirm Russia’s foreign currency sovereign credit rating at BBB-/A-3 with stable outlook is viewed by us as a yet another confirmation that the government’s economic policy is correct," Siluanov said.
In his words, the agency increased the projected Russian economic growth in 2021 to 3.7%.
"According to the agency’s analysts, the present-day condition of the Russian Federation’s balance sheet, balanced budget planning and the current regime of floating foreign currency exchange rate ensure that the Russian economy is resilient enough against potential external shocks," the minister added.