Moody’s weighing downgrade of Russia’s bond rating; cites weaker economy, Ukraine conflict

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Moody’s Investors Services is considering whether to downgrade Russia’s government bond rating, citing a weaker economy and greater risk amid the uncertainty caused by the conflict with Ukraine.

The ratings agency said Friday it placed Russia’s “Baa1″ government bond rating under review for a downgrade.

During the process, Moody’s will try to gain a better sense of how the Russian-Ukraine conflict is likely to exacerbate Russia’s growth challenges, public finances and other factors.

Moody’s says that, should its review lead to a downgrade, the most likely outcome would be to lower the rating one notch, which would still be investment grade.

The Crimean Peninsula, where ethnic Russians are a majority, voted this month to secede from Ukraine before Russia formally annexed it, a move Western countries have denounced as illegitimate.

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