Moody’s downgrades Ukraine to Caa3; expect default

Moody’s Investors Service has today downgraded Ukraine’s government bond rating to Caa3 from Caa2. The outlook on the Caa3 rating is negative.

The downgrade is driven by the following three factors, which exacerbate Ukraine’s more longstanding economic and fiscal fragility:

1.) The escalation of Ukraine’s political crisis, as reflected by the recent regime change in Kiev as well as the annexation of Crimea by Russia (Baa1, on review for downgrade).

2.) Ukraine’s stressed external liquidity position, in light of a continued decline in foreign-currency reserves, the withdrawal of Russian financial support and a rise in gas import prices. This assessment accounts for the near-term liquidity relief that the recently agreed IMF staff-level agreement will provide.

3.) The decline in Ukraine’s fiscal strength, with an expected increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio to 55%-60% by the end of 2014 (from 40.5% at year-end 2013) due to a sizable fiscal deficit, a significant GDP contraction and a sharp currency depreciation.

Concurrently, Moody’s has also downgraded to Caa3 from Caa2 the rating of the Ukrainian State Enterprise “Financing of Infrastructural Projects”. The outlook is negative in line with the outlook on the sovereign rating. The enterprise’s debt is fully and unconditionally guaranteed by the government of Ukraine.

In Moody’s assessment, the recent developments in Ukraine and the resulting material changes to sovereign creditworthiness necessitate this rating action being released on a date not listed for this entity on Moody’s 2014 sovereign release calendar published, in accordance with EU Regulation 462/2013 (“CRA”).

(Read more at Moody’s)

Alterntaive Free Press – fair use –