(Adds further quotes)
MOSCOW, March 21 Russian Deputy Finance Minister
Alexei Moiseev said on Friday he expected no big immediate
impact from western sanctions on Russia's financial sector and
argued that the country's creditworthiness has not worsened.
"For now, I see no severe consequences for the financial
sector," Moiseev told journalists on the sidelines of a
The United States imposed a second wave of sanctions on
Moscow on Thursday and the European Union is also expected to
announce measures over Russia's moves to annex the Crimea
region, seized from Ukraine last month..
Moiseev also criticised the downgrading of Russia's credit
outlook by leading ratings agencies, saying there is no basis
for the move.
On Thursday, both S&P and Fitch revised to 'negative' from
'stable' their long-term outlooks on Russia's debt.
"Our creditworthiness has not changed, of course, we're
going to have a budget this year that will be better than
expected," Moiseev said.
The finance ministry's latest official forecast envisages
the budget deficit at 0.5 percent of gross domestic product, but
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said Russia may in fact have
a balanced budget.
"For now, I see nothing that could infringe on the
creditworthiness of Russia, nothing in the sanctions... or
anywhere else," Moiseev added.
(Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing
by Jason Bush and Catherine Evans)