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POSTED | 9:27 AM | 14-01-2015

Chance of Russia being downgraded to junk “pretty high”

Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Wednesday (14 Jan 2015) that the likelihood of Russia being downgraded to junk was “pretty high,” Interfax news agency reported.

Rating agency S&P said last month it expected to complete a review of Russia, which it already rates at just one notch above junk with a negative outlook, by mid-January.

Earlier on Monday, the ruble fell sharply, dragged lower by a slide in oil prices and fears that S&P will downgrade Russia to junk in coming days.

The currency has been hit by plummeting prices of oil, Russia’s main export, and Western sanctions imposed last year over the Kremlin’s role in the Ukraine crisis.

Russian authorities spent $76 billion and 5.4 billion euros defending the currency in interventions in 2014, Central Bank data showed on Monday.

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