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Sovereign ratings wrap: S&P revises outlook on Sri Lanka; Fitch affirms Germany

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a summary of ratings actions on sovereigns and other key territories from Jan. 13 to Jan 19.

EUROPE

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Germany's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at AAA/F1+, with a stable outlook, citing the country's strong institutions, diversified and high value-added economy, and track record of sound public finances. The country's weak external demand is offset by its sound domestic fundamentals, on the back of a low unemployment rate and resilient service and construction sectors, Fitch added. The rating agency added that Germany's large structural current account surplus supports its net external creditor position.

* Fitch affirmed Slovenia's issuer default ratings at A/F1+, with a stable outlook, over its relatively high per capita GDP and governance indicators, institutional strengths and a credible policy framework, backed by eurozone and European Union memberships. The ratings are constrained by the exposure of the relatively small economy to shocks and high but declining debt levels, Fitch said. The rating agency added that pressure from an aging population will adversely impact public finances over the medium to long term.

* Fitch affirmed Azerbaijan's issuer default ratings at BB+/B, with a stable outlook, citing its sound external balance sheet and low government debt, offset by weakness from dependence on heavy hydrocarbon, banking sector vulnerabilities, weak governance indicators and an underdeveloped but improving policy framework.

AMERICAS

* Fitch downgraded Suriname's foreign-currency issuer default ratings to CCC/C from B-/B over mounting debt levels and reduced financing flexibility. The rating agency said Suriname's large government debt and widening current account deficit, ahead of the May 2020 parliamentary elections, "are inconsistent with the stabilized exchange rate, increasing risk of macro instability." Fitch also downgraded Suriname's long-term senior unsecured ratings to CCC from B- and affirmed the country's local-currency issuer default ratings at B-/B, with a negative outlook.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Sri Lanka's sovereign credit rating to negative from stable, saying it believes that the government would struggle to sustain fiscal consolidation without new revenue measures in the coming years, following planned, wide-ranging tax cuts in 2020 that are expected to widen the country's fiscal deficit by up to 1.0% of GDP. "A weaker fiscal position will add to the government's extremely high debt stock," the rating agency said as it affirmed Sri Lanka's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency credit ratings at B/B.

* Fitch affirmed Pakistan's issuer default ratings at B-/B, with a stable outlook, over its high external financing needs and low reserves, large fiscal deficits, high government debt-to-GDP ratio and weak governance indicators. The rating agency said Pakistan's forex reserves remain low and risky, despite the progress made toward strengthening external finances and positive developments on the fiscal front.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed the United Arab Emirates' long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency ratings at AA-/A1+, with a stable outlook.

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