On March 14, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), a wholly owned government company, announced that it will downgrade the credit ratings of Russia and Belarus to the highest risk level. The company will also raise the premium rates for new products related to trade and investment with the two countries starting on March 22.
Trade insurance covers the risks of foreign transactions that are difficult for private insurance companies to undertake. NEXI rates countries and regions on an eight-point scale from A to H in descending order of creditworthiness. The rating of Russia will be changed from the current E to H and Belarus from G to H.
According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the amount of trade insurance underwritten for Russia as of February this year amounted to approximately 288 billion yen. The ministry has not disclosed the amount for Belarus.