The international rating agency S&P has approved a long-term rating of Russia for liabilities in foreign currency at BBB- with a stable outlook. Long-term local currency rating remains at BBB. According to Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, the S&P decision testifies to the fact that the government ensures macroeconomic stability “against the backdrop of an extremely volatile external environment”.
“The decline in oil prices, the reduction in oil production under the OPEC+ agreement and the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to a decrease in the Russian economy by 4.8% in 2020. However, a strong policy framework, including a flexible exchange rate, as well as the level of external and internal balance, should allow the economy to cope with these shocks”, – said in a statement S&P. The agency believes that Russia's GDP will suffer “less than that of countries with more developed economies”.
Russia's rating has remained at investment grade BBB- since 2018. Before that, since 2015, it was at BB+.
In Russia, the decision of the agency is considered an indicator of the correct actions of the government. “The confirmation of Russia's credit rating at the previous level is evidence that conservative budget planning, inflation targeting policy and strict adherence to the budget rule, the preservation of which was recently confirmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, allow the Russian economy to successfully absorb external shocks”, Mr. Siluanov told reporters (quote from TASS). According to him, in 80% of cases, international agencies have previously downgraded the ratings of countries-exporters of raw materials or worsened forecasts due to lower oil prices and a slowdown in world economic growth.
Recall that in June the fall in Russia's GDP slowed down and amounted to 6.4% in annual terms, follows from the data of the Ministry of Economy. In May, the department estimated the decline in the Russian economy at 10.9%, in April – at 12%.