Russia expects major losses from S&P action

Credit issues may be resolved as early as mid-January, minister says.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Dec. 29, 2014 at 7:44 AM
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MOSCOW, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Russia may lose as much as $30 billion as a result of a downgrade by Standard & Poor's of its credit rating, Russia's development minister said Monday.

S&P last week put Russia on notice because of a weakened economy and negative review of monetary flexibility.

Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev said in an interview with Russia's Business FM radio station that the consequences of a credit downgrade may be severe.

"We can't specify this sum right now but intuitively this is about $20 billion - $30 billion," he said. "However, this amount still needs to be specified and requires additional work. This is a new risk."

Western sanctions imposed in response to the Kremlin's policies on Ukraine, coupled with a steady decline in crude oil prices since June, have pushed the Russian economy toward the brink of recession.

Russia's economy relies heavily on oil for revenue.

The Russian currency hit an all-time low against the U.S. dollar this year before the country's Central Bank stepped in to arrest the decline.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his annual address to members of the press the Russian economy would recover within the next two years, along with the rest of the global economy.

Ulyukayev said resolving the credit watch from S&P was the government's top priority.

"We plan to resolve the credit watch placement by mid-January," he said.

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