U.S. debt sanctions would strip Russia rating of positive outlook - Fitch

LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - The rating agency Fitch says it is likely to strip Russia’s rating of its positive outlook next year if the United States brings in sanctions designed to punish Russian government debt buying.

Washington’s proposed sanctions would effectively prevent U.S. and other big foreign investors from purchasing newly-issued Russian debt. Whether the measures are brought into force or not is likely to be known until early next year.

“We would probably take the positive outlook off of Russia’s rating if there were (U.S.) sanctions on the trading of government debt,” Fitch’s top sovereign analyst James McCormack told Reuters.

He said that without the threat of sanctions, Russia’s rating would be higher than its current low investment grade BBB- level. (Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Angus MacSwan)