Moody's Investors Service confirmed Friday the ratings of Belarus' local- and foreign-currency government bond at B3 with a negative outlook.
In a statement issued on Friday, the agency said that the country's B3 foreign-currency bond ceiling and the Caa1 foreign-currency bank deposit ceiling had also been confirmed. In addition, Moody’s confirmed the local-currency bond ceiling at Ba3 and downgraded the local-currency bank deposit ceiling to B1 from Ba3.
The agency said that the confirmation of the government bond ratings was prompted by the potential narrowing of the country's account deficit due to the depreciation of the Belarusian rubel, the possibility of Belarus' obtaining near-term financing and incremental efforts, such as the liberalization of the exchange rate regime, to rebalance the macro-economic framework.
It said that the negative outlook on the ratings reflected concerns about "political risks", a likely significant slowdown in economic growth in 2012 that could worsen profitability and asset quality in the banking system, increasing the government's contingent liabilities, as well as the relatively low levels of foreign currency reserves that leave Belarus' balance of payments vulnerable to event risk.