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Fitch affirms Russia at ‘BBB-’ with Positive Outlook

The agency expects Russia's GDP to grow at a rate of about 2% in 2018-2019

TASS, February 24. Fitch Ratings has confirmed Russia’s ratings at ‘BBB-’ with Positive Outlook, the agency said in a statement.

"Fitch Ratings has affirmed Russia's Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'BBB-' with Positive Outlook," the statement says.

Fitch explained its decision by Russia’s strong sovereign balance sheet, as well as robust external finances and an improved policy framework. All these factors, according to the agency, balance against Russia’s weaker macroeconomic performance, geopolitical tensions and structural weaknesses which include commodity dependence and governance risks.

Fitch noted that the Russian federal budget deficit narrowed to 1.5% of GDP in 2017, less than half the 2016 outturn and well below the 'BBB' median.

The agency expects GDP growth to average 2% in 2018-2019 on the back of reduced uncertainty, easing of monetary policy and stable oil prices. "This compares with a median growth rate of 3.1% for the 'BBB' category," Fitch said in the release.