Russia says untroubled by US ratings downgrade

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Russia on Saturday said it would keep the level of US dollar investments in its national reserve funds despite Standard & Poor's unprecedented downgrade of the top credit rating of the United States.

S&P cut the US top AAA rating down a notch to AA+ for the first time ever, technically signalling that the country's reliability for paying its debts had decreased.

Russia's Reserve Fund and National Welfare Fund -- set up to support the energy-rich country in case of a decline in the price of oil -- have 45 percent of investments in dollars, 45 percent in euros and 10 percent in sterling.

"We are not going to review this because there is not a great difference between AAA and AA+," Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak told the Interfax news agency.

"It's such a small change that it can be disregarded from the point of view of the management of investments in the long-term," he said.

Storchak said that the downgrade was more a signal for the US government itself to sort out budgetary policy and halt damaging bickering between politicians rather than a warning for investors.

"The alarm bell has rung but it is more for the issuer than investors. We, as an investor, understand this," he said.

According to the latest figures, the Reserve Fund contains $26.55 billion while the National Welfare Fund has $92.7 billion.

© 2011 AFP

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