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Sovereign ratings wrap: DBRS confirms UK; S&P revises Brazil outlook

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a summary of ratings actions on sovereigns and other key territories from Dec. 9 to Dec. 15.

EUROPE

* S&P Global Ratings upgraded Serbia's long-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings to BB+ from BB, citing the country's robust exports and investment-driven economic expansion. The agency said the ratings reflect the country's reduced macroeconomic imbalances, solid domestic demand, and a benign investment outlook. The rating agency affirmed the country's short-term ratings at B.

* S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on Romania's ratings to negative from stable, saying risks to the country's economic and fiscal stability could increase if policymakers fail in their budgetary consolidation efforts. The agency said the higher deficit forecasts are in breach of the European Union's deficit ceiling of 3% of GDP.

* DBRS Morningstar confirmed the U.K.'s long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency ratings at AAA/R-1(high), with a stable trend, following the Conservatives' win in the country's general elections Dec. 12. The rating agency said the election outcome brought more clarity on the withdrawal from the EU, but uncertainty about the future relationship between the U.K. and EU remained.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Uzbekistan's sovereign credit ratings at BB-/B, with a stable outlook, over strong external and fiscal positions. The ratings are constrained by the country's low per capita GDP, a centralized decision-making process, low monetary policy flexibility, and relatively less developed accountability, the rating agency said.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Spain's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at A-/F1, with a stable outlook, citing robust governance indicators and a high value-added and diversified economy. The positives are balanced by a large government debt stock, high unemployment and political uncertainty surrounding the resolution of the Catalan government's policy of pursuing independence, Fitch added.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed France's issuer default ratings at AA/F1+, with a stable outlook, over the country's diversified economy, robust civil and social institutions and macro-financial stability, among other factors. The ratings are constrained by public finances, and particularly the high level of government debt, Fitch added.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed North Macedonia's issuer default ratings at BB+/B, with a stable outlook. The rating agency said the country's coherent macroeconomic and financial policy and strong governance and ease of doing business indicators. The ratings are constrained by the exposure of public debt to exchange rate risk, banking sector euroization, high structural unemployment, and weak productivity growth.

AMERICAS

* S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Brazil's long-term ratings to positive from stable amid prospects for a stronger fiscal profile over the medium term. The outlook reflects prospects for an upgrade to Brazil's credit ratings, which the agency affirmed at BB-/B, if further progress on the government's fiscal and growth agenda leads to a faster reduction of the country's fiscal deficits and stabilization of its debt dynamics.

* Moody's upgraded Jamaica's long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings to B2 from B3, over the country's fiscal consolidation efforts supporting the continued improvement in debt metrics and economic resiliency. However, the country's debt structure remains vulnerable to foreign-exchange fluctuations, Moody's warned, as foreign-currency denominated debt accounts for 62% of total government debt as of fiscal year 2018/19. Moody's revised the country's outlook to stable from positive.

* S&P Global Ratings raised Barbados' foreign currency ratings to B-/B from SD/SD, or selective default, after the country exchanged $531 million in new 2029 bonds and $32 million in past-due interest bonds to holders of its U.S. dollar bonds that have been in default since 2018. The rating agency affirmed the country's local currency ratings at B-/B. The ratings outlook on Barbados is stable.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Mexico's issuer credit ratings at BBB/F2, with a stable outlook, citing the country's diversified economy and robust policy framework, offset by low economic growth, a relatively low fiscal revenue base, shallow credit penetration, and low governance scores.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Thailand to positive from stable, over easing of political uncertainty in the country following the return of an elected government earlier in 2019. The rating agency believes the country's policy continuity and political stability will improve, and the central bank's robust monetary policy and price stability measures will support the credit profile.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Fitch Ratings downgraded Lebanon's long-term ratings to CC from CCC, over concerns that the sustained political uncertainty will increase the likelihood of the country defaulting on its loans. Fitch said the downgrade reflects the growing probability of a government debt restructuring or default due to acute political uncertainty, the introduction of de facto capital controls, and dwindling trust in the country's banking sector. Lebanon's short-term ratings were affirmed at C.

* Fitch Ratings upgraded Cabo Verde's long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to positive from stable on easing government debt and improved growth potential, among other things. The rating agency affirmed the economy's issuer default rating at B.

* Fitch ratings affirmed Kenya's issuer default ratings at B+/B, with a stable outlook. The agency said the rating reflects the country's high public and external debt levels and the uncertain pace of fiscal adjustment balanced against a strong growth outlook.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Morocco's issuer default ratings at BBB-/F3, with a stable outlook, citing low inflation and GDP volatility, a low share of foreign-currency debt and favorable external liquidity buffers, offset by weak governance indicators, high government debt, and relatively wide budget and current account deficits.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Uganda's sovereign credit ratings at B/B, with a stable outlook. Infrastructure investments are expected to support development and fuel economic growth, despite an initial impact on Uganda's fiscal and external balances.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed Saudi Arabia's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency ratings at A+/A1, with a stable outlook.

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