MOSCOW, March 17 Standard and Poor's said on
Friday it has raised Russia's sovereign outlook to positive from
stable, expecting growth to improve as the country emerges from
a two-year recession.
"We expect GDP growth in Russia will pick up, averaging
about 1.7 percent in 2017-2020, and we see a lower risk of large
capital outflows, therefore moderating external pressures", said
S&P, which currently rates Russia BB+.
The agency said it might raise its ratings if the Russian
economy continued to adapt to the relatively low oil prices.
Russian Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said in a statement:
"A precondition for the rating to be raised to investment grade
this year is finalization of a plan of structural changes and
the start of its implementation."
The Russian economy, hurt by weak energy prices and Western
sanctions, returned to growth late last year after seven
quarters of contraction. The economy ministry expects gross
domestic product to grow 2 percent in 2017.
(Writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)