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Moody's assigns ratings to Niger

Moody's assigned first-time local- and foreign-currency issuer ratings of B3 to Niger, with a stable outlook. The rating agency also assigned local- and foreign-currency bond and deposit ceilings at Ba3.

The ratings reflect the West African country's weak economic and institutional strength, high debt burden and moderate susceptibility to geopolitical risks, Moody's said.

The size of Niger's economy is estimated at about $10 billion in 2019.

In the absence of shocks, the country's debt burden, which has risen by more than 20 percentage points of GDP since 2014, is forecast to peak at about 55% of GDP in 2019 before gradually declining.

Niger's current account deficits, which range from 15% to 20% of GDP, are projected to rise further due to infrastructure projects in the next five years.

The stable outlook, meanwhile, is based on expectations that the upside and downside risks to Niger's credit profile are broadly balanced at the B3 rating level.