Fitch downgrades Belarus's IDR in foreign currency to restricted default
MINSK. July 19 (Interfax) - Fitch Ratings has downgraded the long-term issuer default rating (IDR) of Belarus in foreign currency to restricted default (RD) from "C", the international rating agency said in a statement.
"Once the 14-day grace period for coupon payments on 2027 Eurobonds expired on July 13, we downgraded the long-term foreign currency rating of Belarus to 'RD', and the rating of these bonds to 'D'," the agency's analysts said.
The country's Finance Ministry, the Council of Ministers and the National Bank of Belarus announced on June 29 that payments on U.S. dollar-denominated Eurobonds would be transferred in Belarusian rubles to an account with Belarusbank, available to the paying agent.
Fitch's announcement emphasizes that the national currency payment "contradicts the bond's documentation, which does not allow for settlements in alternative currencies." According to the documentation, the payment was not rendered after the grace period expired.
Meantime, Belarus's long-term IDR in national currency remained at 'CCC', while Belarus's short-term IDR in national and foreign currencies remained at 'C'. The country ceiling remained at 'B-'.