Major Chinese debt rating agency Dagong announced that Russian debt is still more creditworthy than US debt. Russia, which is currently traversing a currency crisis and recession, and struggling with a severely weakened ruble, will maintain an A rating with Dagong, whereas the United States was recently given an A- by the agency. Dagong officials justified their rationale by insisting that while the “repayment environment” surrounding Russian debt has deteriorated in the short term, it is expected to fully recover in the medium term.
Russian economic and monetary policy are, according to Dagong, expected to normalize before too much damage is done. Conversely, other credit rating agencies, namely Standard &Poor’s (S&P), have not looked as favorably upon the Russian economy, and announced plans to downgrade the country’s creditworthiness. Fitch Ratings has stated that they will evaluate the Russian economy, with the possibility of downgrade looming.
- Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics indicated that his country has received signs that Russia wishes to engage the European Union more actively on the issue of Ukraine. According to Rinkevics, a Russian willingness to cooperate stems from the country’s ongoing economic problems, and should provide for an “opening to engage” the country.
- The European Union proposed an additional two billion dollars in bailout funds for Ukraine. The Ukrainian government is currently scrambling to prevent a default on debt that has ended up being greater than international bodies like the IMF expected. The EU would condition the funds on Ukraine’s putting a “reform agenda into place.”
- Eleven civilians were killed after a bus nearly 180 kilometers north of the Tajik capital of Dushanbe plunged into a ravine, killing 11. The bus was travelling in heavy fog despite warnings and is the second such road accident to occur this week, when another passenger bus fell into a ravine, killing six others. Tajikistan is a 93% mountainous country.
- Turkmenistan opened its first maritime transport route to Russia. The route, which for the time being will transport mostly construction supplies and other materials, will facilitate the construction of the Astrakhan school, a national center for Turkmen diaspora living in the Russian region, one of the regions outside of Turkmenistan most populated by Turkmen.