MOSCOW Dec 18 Russia's financial support
package for Ukraine, which amounts to $15 billion in bond
purchases and a gas price discount, could support Ukraine's
non-investment grade credit rating, rating agencies said.
Russia agreed a $15 billion bailout for Ukraine and slashed
the price of gas exports on Tuesday. The aid may
substantially ease external pressures for Ukraine and offer
support for its 'B-' rating, an S&P analyst said on Wednesday.
S&P cut Ukraine's rating in November 2013, retaining a
"We will assess the terms and timing of the funds to be
provided once we have more clarity on these issues," S&P analyst
Trevor Cullinan told Reuters in an email.
"Standard & Poor's will also consider the implications for
political stability of closer financial ties to Russia," he
Ukraine needs money to cover an external funding gap of $17
billion next year - almost the level of the central bank's
depleted currency reserves - and to avoid defaulting on its
On the markets, Ukraine's dollar debt soared on the Russian
bailout. "Near-term, Ukraine bonds are likely to trade very
strong," analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a
However the opposition and protesters were angered by the
Russia-Ukraine deal, saying that Ukraine's president Victor
Yanukovich has sold the country out to its former Soviet masters
"Current political tensions and their potential impact on
external liquidity are credit negative," said Thorsten Nestmann,
a senior analyst at Moody's in an email to Reuters.
Moody's has a lower rating for Ukraine - Caa1 - which
denotes junk bonds. Nestmann added that the impact from the
Russian bailout package on the Ukrainian economy is likely to be
limited, as it does not suggest significant structural reforms.
"External liquidity was a key concern for the downgrade of
Ukraine's rating to Caa1 in September and its ongoing review for
further downgrade - a relief in that respect would be credit