FIFA World Cup: Very little impact on Russia’s economy declares rating agency Moody

Russia will only experience a short-lived economic benefit from hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament, says Moody’s Investors Service in a report published today.

The report, “Cross-Sector — Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup will have varying short-lived effects for most rated issuers,” is now available on www.moodys.com. The research is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action.

Much of the economic impact has already been felt through infrastructure spending, and even there the impact has been limited. World Cup-related investments in 2013-17 accounted for only 1% of total investments.

“The games will last just one month and the associated economic stimulus will pale in comparison to the size of Russia’s $1.3 trillion economy,” said Kristin Lindow, a Senior Vice President and analyst at Moody’s. “We do not expect the World Cup to make a meaningful contribution to broader economic growth.”

Nonetheless, host cities have seen an improvement in transport and utility infrastructure as a result.

For the Russian regions, new infrastructure will generate additional tax revenue and decrease future capital spending, with Mordovia Republic (unrated) and Kaliningrad Oblast (unrated) benefitting the most. Conversely, World Cup spending has negatively impacted government finances in other regions, such as City of St. Petersburg (Ba1 positive), Samara Oblast (Ba3 positive) and lead to a build-up in debt.

Russian food retailers, hotels, telecoms, and transport will see a temporary boost in revenue, but the impact will be a one-off, leading to no material changes to business fundamentals or credit profiles. Moscow-based airports are among the key beneficiaries in the transport sector because upgraded facilities will support higher passenger flows, even after the event.

Construction companies are also among the key beneficiaries, but they would have already felt much of the impact.