Belarus ‘likely to default’ in the next year due to sanctions

8 Mar 22

Belarus is likely to default on its debt in the coming year as a result of sanctions imposed in response to its role in helping Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, S&P Global said after it downgraded its rating for the eastern European country.


Alexander Lukashenko Shutterstock 1392929765

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. Image © exsilentroot/Shutterstock

The agency said Belarus has supported Russia’s efforts by allowing it to use territory for staging posts and to fire ballistic missiles from.

It cut the government’s rating further into junk status, from B to CCC, citing “severe” sanctions it believes are likely to “significantly disrupt” the Belarusian economy, with more measures expected.

“Overall, we now consider it likely that absent an unforeseen positive development, Belarus will default on its commercial debt over the next 12 months,” S&P said.

“Apart from financial considerations, we also believe Belarus could become unwilling to honour its obligations to retaliate against the sanctions.”

S&P also signalled further downgrades are possible, once the impact of sanctions has become clear.

The sanctions include measures against commercial banks and specific sectors of the economy, and have so far been introduced by the US, the UK, the European Union and others.

S&P said historically Russia has financially supported Belarus, which had propped up its rating, including subsidies, refinancing maturing debt and extending credit lines.

The agency said the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia, which have been tipped to hamstring the economy and have already led to the central bank taking emergency action, might make this support less likely in the near future.

Belarus was already subject to some sanctions, albeit less severe than the new ones, following a presidential election in August 2020 that many in the European Union believe was illegitimate.

S&P said in the time since that election Belarus and president Alexander Lukashenko have become “even more dependent” on Russia.

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