Romania's Credit Rating Bounced Up by Fitch

Finance | July 4, 2011, Monday // 19:45|  views

Pictured: Romanian President Traian Basescu (C) with his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias, June 2011. EPA/BGNES

Romania had its credit rating raised to investment grade by Fitch Ratings for the first time in almost three years after the government.

Romania's sovereign rating was raised one step to BBB-, the lowest investment grade, with a stable outlook, Fitch said today in a statement from London, as cited by Bloomberg. Moody's Investors Service also gives Romania comparable Baa3, while Standard & Poor's rates the country's debt BB+, its highest speculative grade.

"The upgrade reflects Romania's progress in recovering from the effects of the financial crisis," including a return to economic growth, narrowing the current-account deficit and reducing the budget deficit, Ed Parker, a director in Fitch's emerging-market sovereign group, is quoted as saying.

Romania's GDP grew by 1.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier, ending a two-year contraction, as demand for exports increased. Romania, which received two international bailouts after 2009, plans to trim its budget deficit to less than 3% of GDP in 2012 from 6.5% in 2010.

Fitch's decision comes after Standard & Poor's maintained Hungary's credit grade at the lowest investment level on March 24. S&P raised Serbia's sovereign rating for the first time in five years that month, while Fitch upgraded Latvia to investment grade from junk status.

The move is an "acknowledgment of the country's improved fundamentals," central bank Deputy Governor Cristian Popa told Bloomberg in a phone interview. While there are reasons for the leu to strengthen, the Romanian currency may suffer if the Greek debt crisis worsens, he added.

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Tags: Romania, Fitch, credit rating, credit ratings


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