S&P Downgraded The Rating Of Belarus To "B/B" With A Negative Outlook
The international rating agency S&P Global Ratings has downgraded the Outlook for Belarus' long-term sovereign credit ratings in foreign and national currency to negative from stable, while the ratings themselves are confirmed at the "B/B" level, the Agency said.
"The negative outlook reflects the growing risks to the financial stability of the national banking system, most of which are under state control...," the Agency writes.
S&P notes " the acceleration of the exchange of household savings into foreign currency and partial withdrawal of deposits in August after the disputed presidential election." The Agency estimates that the country's gross foreign exchange reserves have fallen by $1.4 billion since the beginning of August.
"We can lower the ratings of Belarus in the absence of guaranteed government access to foreign capital markets, while additional credit lines from bilateral lenders such as Russia and China will not be enough for comfortable future repayment of government debt obligations," the agency reports.
It may revise the Outlook on the country's ratings to stable if political uncertainty decreases, which will contribute to the stability of the economic, budgetary, and financial sectors of Belarus.
Mass opposition protests began across Belarus on August 9, after the presidential election, which was won by the current Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko — according to the CEC, he won 80.1% of the vote. In the first days, the actions were suppressed by security forces, and tear gas, water cannons, stun grenades, and rubber bullets were used against protesters who did not agree with the results. Then law enforcement agencies stopped dispersing rallies and using force and special equipment. According to official data, more than 6,700 people were detained in the first few days. As reported by the Ministry of internal Affairs of the Republic, hundreds of people were injured during the riots, including more than 130 law enforcement officers. Authorities have officially confirmed the deaths of three protesters.