Moody's and Fitch Downgrade Russia's Credit Ratings to 'Junk'

  • Updated

Russias credit ratings have been downgraded deep into the 'junk' territory by Moodys Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, with the duo highlighting the economic toll inflicted by wide-ranging sanctions and rising doubts about whether Moscow will honour its debts, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"The severity of international sanctions in response to Russia's military invasion of Ukraine has heightened macro-financial stability risks, represents a huge shock to Russia's credit fundamentals and could undermine its willingness to service government debt," Fitch said in a statement issued.

A Moody's sign is displayed on 7 World Trade Center, the company's corporate headquarters in New York. Reuters

Russia Down by Six Notches

Both the credit-rating companies cut their assessment of Russia by six notches, to a single-B rating in Fitch's case and to B3 for Moody's. The two rating firms, which had previously given Russia low investment-grade ratings of BBB and Baa3, respectively, both signaled further downgrades could follow, WSJ reported.

Fitch warned that sanctions on Russian banks were likely to be ratcheted up. It also cautioned that Western sanctions, plus the large fall in the ruble, "markedly increase the risk of a broad-based loss of domestic confidence triggering bank deposit outflows and dollarisation."

Russian ruble
Picture for representation Pixabay

"The significant concerns around Russia's willingness to service its debt are a reflection that Russia's institutional strength has very materially weakened with increasing evidence that the executive faces few checks and balances," Moody's said in a statement on Thursday, WSJ reported.

The moves mean all three of the world's major ratings firms now judge Russian debt to be sub-investment grade, after S&P Global Ratings downgraded Russia last week.