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S&P Global Ratings cuts Uzbekistan's outlook to negative on rising debt levels

S&P Global Ratings revised Uzbekistan's ratings outlook to negative from stable, citing an expected rapid rise in the country's external and fiscal debt over the next 12 months, partly due to $1 billion in additional government spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Continuing rapid debt accumulation could, in our view, reduce the government's fiscal flexibility. The government predominantly borrows from abroad, which also increases risks to the economy's external position," the rating agency said.

Uzbekistan's government debt, net of liquid assets, is forecast to reach 10% of GDP in 2020, compared to a net asset position of 9% of GDP in 2018, according to the rating agency.

In revising the outlook, S&P Global Ratings also flagged Uzbekistan's elevated current account deficit, which it projects to climb to 10% of GDP in 2020 from 6% in 2019 due to declines in gas exports, tourism revenue and remittances from abroad.

S&P Global Ratings affirmed Uzbekistan's foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings at BB-/B.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.