The credit rating of Saint Petersburg (hereinafter, the City) is based on the City’s well-developed economy, balanced budget structure, low debt load, and high budget liquidity.
Saint Petersburg is a city of federal importance and home to 3.7% of Russia’s population. The City’s gross regional product is about 5% of Russia’s total GRP.
Key rating assessment factors
Low current and projected debt load. In 2020, the City’s debt to current revenues ratio (as per ACRA’s methodology) grew from 5% to 13%, which was caused by the need to cover the budget deficit of RUB 40 bln that arose due to higher (+9%) expenditures to fight the pandemic. As of the end of 2021, this ratio may go up to 27% in view of new borrowings to finance the budget deficit stipulated by the City’s budget law. Such ratio indicates a low debt load. ACRA expects that the City’s debt load will remain below 50% of TNTR in 2021–2023. As of April 1, 2021, the City’s debt was composed exclusively of bond loans with maturities in 2022–2028. Debt service costs are not burdensome for the City’s budget.
High budget liquidity. The City fulfills its expenditure obligations on time and regularly deposits temporarily free funds with banks and via repo transactions secured by federal bond loans and the City’s bonds. As of April 1, 2021, the City’s temporarily free funds were comparable to average monthly budget expenditures for 2020.
Balanced budget structure and sufficient budget discipline. The City’s budget is highly self-sustainable. For 2017–2021, the averaged1 ratio of TNTR to internal revenues (excluding subventions) should amount to 97%. Capital expenditures should average 18% of total spending (excluding subventions) for the aforementioned period. In 2017–2021, the average current account balance to current revenues ratio should equal 10%, and the ratio of the average modified budget deficit to current revenues should amount to -6%. These indicators show that current revenues is sufficient to cover current expenditures and indicate the need for borrowing to finance capital expenditures.
1 Hereinafter, averages are calculated according to the Methodology for Credit Ratings Assignment to Regional and Municipal Authorities of the Russian Federation.
The City’s highly developed economy provides for a diversified tax base. Per-capita GRP in Saint Petersburg is consistently higher than the national average by 30–50%. Tax revenue is highly diversified in terms of sectors: according to ACRA, the average estimate of the maximum share of one industry in the City’s tax revenues in 2017–2020 did not exceed 16%. Unemployment is consistently low and did not exceed 3% in the aforementioned period (2017–2020). The average monthly wage was five times higher than the City’s subsistence minimum in 2020.
- 1% increase in the City’s TNTR in 2021 compared to 2020;
- The 2021 budget deficit of no more than 15% of TNTR;
- Lower expenditures should actual revenues decline compared to target revenues;
- Maintaining a conservative debt policy;
- Maintaining a high budget liquidity.
Potential outlook or rating change factors
The Stable outlook assumes that the rating will most likely stay unchanged within the 12 to 18-month horizon.
A negative rating action may be prompted by:
- Debt load going above 30% of the City’s current revenues;
- Significant fall in available liquidity.
Saint Petersburg, 35001 (ISIN RU000A0ZYHX8); maturity date: May 28, 2025, issue volume: RUB 30 bln — AAA(RU).
Saint Petersburg, 35002 (ISIN RU000A0ZYKJ1); maturity date: December 4, 2026, issue volume: RUB 25 bln — AAA(RU).
Saint Petersburg, 35003 (ISIN RU000A102A15); maturity date: April 13, 2027, issue volume: RUB 30 bln — AAA(RU).
Saint Petersburg, 35004 (ISIN RU000A102K88); maturity date: September 28, 2028, issue volume: RUB 30 bln — AAA(RU).
Rationale. In ACRA’s opinion, the bonds of Saint Petersburg are senior unsecured debt instruments, the credit ratings of which correspond to the credit rating of Saint Petersburg.
The credit ratings have been assigned to Saint Petersburg and the bonds (ISIN RU000A0ZYHX8, RU000A0ZYKJ1, RU000A102A15, RU000A102K88) issued by Saint Petersburg under the national scale for the Russian Federation based on the Methodology for Credit Ratings Assignment to Regional and Municipal Authorities of the Russian Federation and the Key Concepts Used by the Analytical Credit Rating Agency within the Scope of Its Rating Activities. To assign credit ratings to the above bond issues, the Methodology for Assigning Credit Ratings to Individual Issues of Financial Instruments under the National Scale for the Russian Federation was also applied.
The credit ratings of Saint Petersburg and the bonds (ISIN RU000A0ZYHX8, RU000A0ZYKJ1, RU000A102A15, RU000A102K88) issued by Saint Petersburg were published by ACRA for the first time on June 27, 2017, December 4, 2017, December 12, 2017, October 22, 2020, and December 17, 2020, respectively. The credit ratings of Saint Petersburg and the bonds (RU000A0ZYHX8, RU000A0ZYKJ1, RU000A102A15, RU000A102K88) issued by Saint Petersburg are expected to be revised within 182 days following the publication date of this press release as per the Calendar of planned sovereign credit rating revisions and publications.
The credit ratings were assigned based on the data provided by Saint Petersburg, information from publicly available sources (the Ministry of Finance, the Federal State Statistics Service, and the Federal Tax Service), as well as ACRA’s own databases. The credit ratings are solicited, and the Government of Saint Petersburg participated in their assignment.
In assigning the credit ratings, ACRA used only information, the quality and reliability of which was, in ACRA's opinion, appropriate and sufficient to apply the methodologies.
ACRA provided no additional services to the Government of Saint Petersburg. No conflicts of interest were discovered in the course of credit rating assignment.