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Western countries may tighten sanctions against Russia — Moody’s

October 23, 2014, 12:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Moody’s Vice-President says the forecast for Russia is negative with risks exerting pressure on Russia’s rating
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© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metzel

Infographics Economical sanctions against Russia Economical sanctions against Russia
The USA, EU, Canada and Australia have introduced sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
MOSCOW, October 23. /TASS/. Western countries may impose new or tighten existing sanctions against Russia over its stance on the Ukraine crisis, Moody’s Vice-President Thorsten Nestmann said at a news conference on Thursday.

The forecast for Russia is negative, considering that the situation in Ukraine remains unstable and it cannot be ruled out that risks will intensify and new sanctions will be imposed or the existing sanctions will be tightened, which will exert pressure on Russia’s rating, Nesmann said.

Moody's downgraded on October 17 Russia’s sovereign rating by one notch to Baa2 from Baa1, with a negative outlook.

Moody’s said the rating downgrade was due to “Russia's increasingly subdued medium-term growth prospects, exacerbated by the prolongation of the Ukraine crisis, including through the impact of expanded international sanctions.”

The international rating agency also explained the rating downgrade by the “gradual, but ongoing erosion of the country's foreign-exchange buffers due to capital flight, Russian borrowers' restricted international market access and low oil prices.”

The analyst said it was necessary to analyze the extent of these factors’ influence on the Russian economy in the medium term.

Moody’s does not expect the Ukraine crisis to be resolved soon, Nestmann said, adding this was a reason for downgrading Russia’s rating amid persisting western sanctions.

Financial aid to Russi's oil giant increases risks for the Russian economy

Russian oil giant Rosneft’s request for 2 trillion rubles ($49 billion) from the country’s National Welfare Fund (NWF) will increase risks for Russia’s economy and its rating, Nestmann said.

“But $49 billion is a very large amount. The NWF currently amounts to about $80 billion. So, $49 billion for one company? What may be left for the rest of the country? It means the risks for the Russian economy and rating are increasing,” the PRIME news agency quoted Nestmann as saying.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin on Thursday said Rosneft pays $80 billion into federal budget annually.

“I want to note that Rosneft’s deductions to the budget amount to 3 trillion rubles or $80 billion a year,” Sechin said at the third Eurasian forum in Verona.

Rosneft’s consolidated revenues amounted to $144 billion in 2013 while the company’s EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) totaled $30 billion last year, Sechin said.

“This year, we expect to exceed these indicators considerably,” Sechin said.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday that Rosneft had requested over 2 trillion rubles in financial aid from the National Welfare Fund while Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the ministry had approved requests from Rosneft and gas producer Novatek and transferred them to the Economic Development Ministry for consideration.

Rosneft earlier suggested that the government should spend 1.5 trillion rubles ($37 billion) from the National Welfare Fund on purchasing Rosneft’s new bonds, which was equivalent to the company’s net debt.

Russia’s National Welfare Fund set up to accrue surplus oil revenues stood at 3.277 trillion rubles ($79.9 billion) as of October 1. The government has the right to invest up to 60% of the Fund’s money in the shares and bonds of Russian companies implementing large-scale investment projects.

The western sanctions imposed on Russia bar major Russian companies and banks from raising medium-and long-term financing on international capital markets.


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