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08/26/1998 15:49:05 FITCH IBCA CUTS RUSSIA'S LONG-TERM FOREIGN CURRENCY RATING TO CCC FROM B-MINUS

Пост обновлен 28 авг. 2018 г.

(Press release provided by Fitch IBCA).

NEW YORK Aug 26 - Fitch IBCA, the international rating

agency, today downgraded Russia's Long-term and Short-term

foreign currency ratings from 'B-' to 'CCC' and 'B' to 'C',

respectively, indicating that the agency believes there is a

real possibility that the Russian government will default on

more than USD140bn of external debt obligations.

The ratings are removed from RatingAlert negative.

The new rating applies to all senior unsecured sovereign

debt issued by the Government of the Russian Federation and

places a ceiling on the senior unsecured Long-term foreign

currency rating of all Russian entities.

Fitch IBCA said that the limited margin of safety on

meeting external public debt payments - previously afforded by

the level of official gross foreign exchange reserves and

enhanced financial support from the IMF - has been eroded by

recent political and financial developments in Russia.

Gross foreign exchange reserves have fallen substantially,

prompting the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) to announce today

that it will no longer undertake further substantial

intervention in support of the rouble.

The harsh restructuring terms imposed on foreign and

domestic holders of GKOs and OFZs (treasury bills and bonds

respectively) will provide substantial cash flow relief to the

budget and does provide the Russian authorities with an

opportunity to put in place key fiscal and structural reforms.

But the agency warns that it is now much more likely to be

used to avoid planned spending cuts and tax increases, and

clear public sector wage and pension arrears.

The debt restructuring and the (as yet unspecified)

restrictions on secondary market trading of the new rouble

instruments will further weaken the liquidity of Russian

banks.

The CBR will be under continuing intense pressure to supply

liquidity to the banking system that in turn will further

undermine the rouble.

Moreover, with the government now unable to raise funds

from domestic and international capital markets, the CBR will

be forced to print money to finance any future shortfall of

revenues over spending.

Recent political developments have also significantly

increased the risk that the Russian authorities will backslide

on their policy commitments to the IMF, putting at risk further

funding from the IMF.

Concessions to the State Duma on the "anti-crisis package"

of fiscal and structural reform measures agreed with the IMF

are likely in an attempt to win the former's support for Mr

Chernomrydin's nomination as Prime Minister and broaden the

political base of the government.

The agency thus expects that the next USD4.3bn of funding

from the IMF scheduled to be disbursed in the second half of

September will be subject to delay.

Fitch IBCA said that approximately USD4.5 bn of payments on

public external debt would fall due in late 1998 and more than

USD16bn in 1999 (though public external debt service in 1999

would be less if there were no further IMF disbursements in

1998).

Given the declining level of foreign exchange reserves and

the risk that IMF funding will be delayed, there is a real

possibility of default by the Russian government on its

external obligations.

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