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Sovereign ratings wrap: Fitch upgrades Russia; Moody's lifts outlook on Portugal

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a summary of ratings actions on sovereigns and other key territories from Aug. 5 to Aug. 11.

EUROPE

* Fitch Ratings upgraded Russia's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings to BBB/F2 from BBB-/F3, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Fitch's expectation that Russia's prudent fiscal strategy, flexible exchange rate and commitment to control inflationary pressures will shield it from external shocks, heightened sanctions and oil price volatility.

* Fitch affirmed Italy's long- and short-term issuer default ratings at BBB/F2, with a negative outlook on the long-term ratings. Fitch said the ratings reflect Italy's elevated government debt and heightened uncertainties amid a looming snap election after Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called for new polls amid persistent policy differences with coalition partner Five Star Movement.

* Moody's affirmed Portugal's domestic and foreign long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings at Baa3 and revised the outlook to positive from stable, citing a faster-than-expected decline in the country's debt and the prospect of sustained improvements in the domestic banking sector. Portugal's debt-to-GDP is now forecast to reach 108% in 2022, lower than Moody's prior projection of 114%.

* DBRS confirmed Malta's long- and short-term issuer ratings at A (high)/R-1 (middle), with a stable trend. The rating agency expects the country's GDP growth to decelerate in the coming years but remain high at about 3.9% between 2019 and 2024.

ASIA

* Fitch affirmed South Korea's long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating at AA-, with a stable outlook. The rating reflects the country's external finances and strong fiscal management, offset by risks related to North Korea and structural challenges posed by an aging population and low productivity.

AMERICAS

* S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on Aruba to stable from negative, citing expectations that the island will continue advancing its fiscal correction program during the next two years and stabilize the trajectory of government debt. The rating agency affirmed Aruba's long- and short-term ratings at BBB+/A-2.

* Moody's affirmed Uruguay's long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings at Baa2 and maintained the stable outlook. The rating agency said the affirmation reflects the expected recovery in Uruguay's economic growth in the coming two years and the country's slowly eroding fiscal strength.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* S&P upgraded Rwanda's long-term sovereign credit rating to B+ from B, with a stable outlook, citing the country's strong GDP expansion and higher growth trends per capita compared with peers. Rwanda's short-term rating was affirmed at B.

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