Fitch confirm Russia's BBB rating

2nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Fitch confirmed on Tuesday its triple-B rating on Russia and noted that next year's presidential elections were unlikely to alter the country's policies or add to investor risk.

But the global ratings agency also noted growth that was "unspectacular by emerging market standards" and cautioned that the economic planning system remained centralised and opaque.

The rating and positive outlook "balances its exceptionally strong sovereign balance sheet ... against its structural weaknesses and the delay to fiscal tightening, which heighten its vulnerability to a severe oil price shock," Fitch Managing Director Ed Parker said.

The announcement came two days after Standard and Poor's also upheld Russia's ratings at BBB/A-3 for its foreign currency debt and BBB+/A-2 for local currency issues.

Standard and Poor's also warned that "an ambiguous succession process" that may or may not see Prime Minister Vladimir Putin return to the Kremlin in March elections were adding to Russia's political and economic uncertain.

Fitch voiced no such concerns while also noting structural weaknesses in Russia's governance system.

"Fitch does not anticipate a significant change in political direction or economic policies after the elections and believes the risk of major political instability in the near term is low, although the opaque and centralised nature of the system carries event risk," the group said.

© 2011 AFP

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