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S&P revises outlook on Bolivia to negative

S&P Global Ratings on May 25 revised its outlook on Bolivia to negative from stable, citing risks from potentially prolonged current account deficits, high levels of public-sector spending and sustained rapid growth in domestic credit.

The rating agency affirmed its BB/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings.

The outlook revision reflects at least a one-in-three likelihood that the country's persistent current account deficit could contribute to macroeconomic imbalances over the next two years. Low export prices for natural gas and the government's policy of sustaining public-sector investment is likely to lead to a current account deficit of 5.3% of GDP in 2017. The deficit was 5.5% in 2016, and is likely to be about 4% to 5% of GDP over the next two years, the rating agency said.

Bolivia's GDP growth is expected to be 3.8% in 2017, falling from the 4.3% increase noted in the previous year.

The agency expects general government deficit to be about 3% of GDP in 2017 and remain relatively stable over the next three years. Net general government debt could reach 18% of GDP in 2017 and climb toward 25% in 2020.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.