On the chopping block: Nigeria, Angola, Gabon placed on list of oil states at risk of painful downgrade

Already battling the collapse in commodity prices they could find their cost of borrowing money on international markets will shoot up.

THE credit ratings of more than 10 oil producing nations in the developing world were placed on review for a downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited the shock of depressed oil prices on these economies.

The list includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Angola, Gabon and Trinidad and Tobago, according to statements released by Moody’s on Friday in New York.

Five of the six Gulf Cooperation Council nations—Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar—were also put on review for a cut, Moody’s said, adding that it expects to complete its review within two months. 

The ratings of Bahrain and Congo were downgraded in addition to being placed on review, while the credit outlook for Venezuela was lowered to negative from stable.

The moves follow Standard & Poor’s, which has already issued a spate of downgrades in reflection of the selloff in oil and its impact on the creditworthiness of producers in emerging markets. The collapse in commodity prices has forced governments to trim the spending that has helped fuel their economic growth over the past decade.

Fiscal deficits are on the rise as these countries increase borrowing to make up for the shortfall in revenue.

“This sends a bearish signal to the markets, even though a plunge in oil prices is not news to anyone,” Wayne Lin, New York-based money manager at QS Investors LLC, said by phone. 

“As oil prices are plunging, revenue of these commodity exporters are greatly impaired, which creates a challenge to their ability to balance the budgets, run the country and control and service the debt.”

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