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Announcement:

Moody's: Stable outlook for Russian regional, local governments

07 May 2008
Moody's: Stable outlook for Russian regional, local governments

This Outlook expresses Moody's expectations for the fundamental credit conditions in the sector over the next 12 to 18 months.

Milan, May 07, 2008 -- While Russian regional and local governments (RLGs) are not immune to the current financial market conditions, they will likely remain somewhat protected from the worst effects of the credit crisis at least through the beginning of 2009, according to a report from Moody's Investors Service. Moody's rating outlook for Russian RLGs is stable.

"The overall financial situation remains under control as indicated by the generally low re-financing needs of Russian RLGs for 2008, adequate cash positions, improving budgetary performance and continued low debt levels," said Vice President - Senior Analyst Massimo Visconti, a primary author of the report.

He said the report highlights and comments on the mix of financial, macroeconomic and institutional variables that come into play in determining the stability of the outlook for Russian RLGs.

"These characteristics are currently protecting the regional and local governments from the adverse financial market conditions worldwide," said Visconti. "Despite growing spreads, medium maturities of existing exposures and low-to-moderate financing requirements allow many entities to wait for the second half of the year before tapping the markets."

He said Moody's has noted a greater stability in intergovernmental relationships in Russia, which should translate into a higher predictability of revenue structure at the regional and local government level. This is especially relevant as RLG revenue in Russia is exposed to economic cycles and their capacity to raise taxes is limited.

"Sustained economic growth in recent years has strengthened the trend toward fiscal consolidation in the sub-sovereign sector as well as for the sovereign," said Vice President - Senior Analyst Alexander Proklov, a coauthor of the report. "However, such growth has been accompanied by a parallel rise in inflation rates and peaks in consumer prices in basic sectors and services such as raw materials, food, gas and energy."

In view of RLGs' relevant exposure to those sectors, he said, an excessive overheating of the national economy associated with a worldwide prolonged stagnation may pose some risks to their budgetary balance.

"In following financial, institutional and macroeconomic conditions to assess the impact on Russian RLGs' credit quality," said Proklov, "we give significant weight on the systemic risk to the operating environment under which Russian RLGs operate."

Any relevant improvements in this regard are susceptible to prompting a modification of the outlook for the sub-sovereign sector, but only if it is associated with the capacity of RLGs to structurally benefit from these changes.

"Of course," said the analysts, "the stability of the outlook for the sub-sovereign sector does not necessarily preclude positive or negative rating actions on individual Russian RLGs depending on their specific performances."

The report is titled "Stable Outlook for Russian Regional & Local Governments," and is available at moodys.com

Milan
Massimo Visconti
Vice President - Senior Analyst
International Public Finance
Moody's Investors Service
Telephone:+39-02-9148-1100

New York
Yves Lemay
Managing Director
International Public Finance
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

No Related Data.
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