Moody's likely to raise Russia's rating this year

Russia has not only improved its opportunities to serve the foreign debt, but pays the debt ahead of schedule

Jonathan Schiffer, senior analyst of international rating agency Moody's believes that the agency may raise Russia's rating until the end of the year. According to Mr. Schiffer, the rating-change procedure, which the agency practices, has a goal to prepare the market to a possible change. “At first we give a positive forecast to the rating, then we put the rating up for revision, and the decision to revise the rating will be eventually made within three months,” Jonathan Schiffer said.

Formally, a positive forecast will remain as it is indefinitely, although the officer specified that the decision about the revision of the rating would be made before October, when Moody's experts visit Russia. “The agency discusses the matter continuingly,” Jonathan Schiffer said.

The expert believes that it would be logic to revise the rating prior to Moody's experts visit to Russia. It would thus be possible for the agency to clear up several questions, obtain additional information and formulate the final opinion. “When we give a positive forecast on a rating, it means that we are more than 50 percent sure that the rating will be subsequently revised and possibly raised,” Moody's senior analyst said. “When we are making a decision we do not usually take a step back,” he added.

Jonathan Schiffer also pointed out that the decision of Fitch agency to raise Russia's sovereign rating was based on specific reasons. “Russia has not only improved its possibilities to serve the foreign debt, but it pays the debt ahead of schedule,” Moody's specialist said. The officer added that the rating raise would definitely play a positive role for Russia, Interfax reports.

Moody's became the first of world's leading agencies, which raised Russia's rating to the BAA3 investment rating in October of 2003. Last year the agency changed the country's rating forecast to positive on foreign currency liabilities.

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Author`s name Olga Savka