S&P’s move to put Russia on CreditWatch negative reflects the ratings agency’s “view that there is at least a one-in-two likelihood of a negative rating action within 90 days,” according to S&P.
While it is easy to speculate about Russia’s default odds at a time when ratings agencies are taking a knife to the country’s credit rating, some market observers see the chances of another Russian default as slim.
“Russia’s current foreign debt is not large: $731 billion, or about 34% of Russia’s annual GDP. Direct government debt is $73 billion and state-owned banks and corporations owe an additional $304 billion. By international standards this is benign. U.S. external debt is close to 100% of GDP, for example. In consideration of Russia’s $478 billion currency reserves, accumulated over the past decade, it seems absurd to worry about default,” said Research Affiliates in a note out earlier this month.
Market Vectors Russia ETF