* Venezuela risks default if oil prices slide to $60
* Russia’s credit rating under threat
* Importers India and Indonesia benefit to avoid junk status
By Sam Wilkin
LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Russia and Venezuela stand to lose the most from sliding oil prices, with the latter facing a growing risk of default because of its large fiscal deficit and high state spending, Moody’s said in a report.
If oil settled around $60 a barrel, this “would significantly increase the risk of default” by already junk-rated Venezuela, Moody’s said, whereas the effect on Russia could be moderated by its large foreign exchange reserves.
Global benchmark Brent crude prices have nearly halved since hitting a June high above $115, hit by rising U.S. oil output and waning growth in global demand.
Emerging economies have earned roughly 200 rating upgrades since 2007 from the three major agencies, but Moody’s has more countries under a negative than a positive outlook for 2015.
The agency has a negative outlook for Russia -- rated two steps above junk at Baa2 -- whose currency has fallen by more than a third this year due to the oil price slide and Western sanctions in place since March because of the Ukraine crisis.
Ratings matter to lenders because many large investors will not touch junk-rated bonds.
Gulf Arab countries will keep their strong sovereign credit ratings despite facing some of the largest absolute revenue losses in 2015.
Saudi Arabia, rated highly at Aa3 with a stable outlook, may chalk up a budget deficit, but will weather lower oil prices thanks to the huge cash reserves it accumulated when prices were higher, Moody’s said.
Among importers, those with a heavy burden of energy subsidies and high inflation, such as India and Indonesia, will see the greatest benefit from falling oil prices.
Both countries are rated Baa3, just one grade above junk.
China, the world’s largest oil importer and rated Aa3, is less exposed to oil price shifts because it has more market-based pricing mechanisms, but will benefit from a growing trade surplus due to the fall in oil prices, Moody’s said.
(For full report, click here: here~WWFob29fRmluYW5jZTQyX1NCX1JhdGluZyBOZXdzX0FsbF9Fbmc%3D~20141210_PR_314804)
(For a list of sovereign ratings in emerging markets, click here: )
Reporting by Sam Wilkin; Editing by Crispian Balmer