January 18, 2019 / 10:13 PM / in 6 months

S&P affirms Russia's rating with stable outlook

A man walks along Red Square, with the mausoleum of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin (R) and St. Basil's cathedral seen in the background, in central Moscow, Russia December 21, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

(Reuters) - S&P Global Ratings affirmed Russia’s “BBB-/A-3” credit rating on Friday, saying the country’s solid external and public balance sheets should enable its economy to absorb shocks from possible new international sanctions.

S&P believes that a scenario whereby the United States imposes sanctions on the secondary market for Russian sovereign bonds would be disruptive to financial markets.

"We could take a negative rating action in the next 24 months if geopolitical events result in foreign governments introducing materially tighter sanctions on Russia," the ratings agency said bit.ly/2TUlNto.

S&P becomes the latest major rating agency to warn of the negative impact on the nation’s credit profile if the United States introduces new sanctions against Moscow.

S&P kept the country’s outlook unchanged at stable, factoring in the agency’s assumption of an adequate government policy response in the event of additional sanctions.

Earlier on Friday, Moody’s said that tougher U.S. sanctions would hurt Russia’s credit profile.

Fitch last month said it would strip Russia’s positive outlook rating this year if the United States brings in sanctions devised to hurt Russian government debt buying.

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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