Standart & Poor's and Fitch Increased their Rating for Bulgaria
The international rating agency S & P Global Ratings increased Bulgaria's long-term and short-term credit rating in foreign and local currencies to 'BBB- / A-3' from 'BB + / B'. An increased assessment of analysts reflects the strengthening of the country's external position as a result of the prolonged expansion of exports and the increase in savings. According to S & P Global Ratings, the risks associated with a substantial and sudden change in financial flows coming from abroad, and in particular foreign direct investment, have declined significantly. Public finances are also assessed as stable and defending the currency regime, the Ministry of Finance said. A robust outlook shows the balance of risks associated with credit rating. Expectations for economic growth have improved and fiscal policy has been assessed as conservative.
Among the factors that could lead to an increase in Bulgaria's credit rating over the next 24 months, S & P Global Ratings include acceleration of economic growth, continued decline in non-performing loans, increase in fiscal buffers, and the introduction of the BGN in Currency Mechanism II ( IM II), which would strengthen confidence in monetary policy. The rating agency would take negative ratings on the country's balance of payments, lower expectations of economic growth and worsening public finances, the agency added.
Meanwhile, the international rating agency "Fitch" has also raised Bulgaria's long-term credit rating in foreign and local currencies to 'BBB' from 'BBB-'. The outlook for both indicators is stable. The increased rating reflects Bulgaria's improved external finance assessment, with the country's performance exceeding the average for the 'BBB' category. Fitch notes that in 2016 Bulgaria is a net external creditor (8.6% of GDP) and the position is expected to continue to improve. The current account surplus is estimated at 3.4% of GDP, averaged over the period 2017-2019, backed by increased competitiveness and diversification of exports. The second factor contributing significantly to the rating agency's estimation is related to the strengthening of the country's foreign buffers. Foreign reserves accounted for 49.7% of GDP and the external liquidity ratio was estimated at 215% by the end of 2016, which provided adequate coverage to maintain the currency board arrangement.
Fitch estimates that the main factors that individually or collectively could contribute to raising the country's rating are increasing the growth potential of the economy over the medium-term horizon and accelerating its convergence towards income levels comparable to other countries.
The factors that would have a negative impact include the presence of external imbalances, such as deepening the current account deficit and worsening competitiveness. public finances would be a presence of a high budget deficit will worsen expectations about the debt and the availability of substantial commitments in companies that are state owned.
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