Fitch keeps Portugal's rating unchanged

The American financial rating agency had scheduled for this Friday a pronouncement on the rating of the Portuguese debt, about a month after the outlook was changed due to the pandemic, but chose not to do so.

Reinhard Krause / Reuters

Fitch had scheduled for this Friday a pronouncement on the rating Portuguese debt, about a month after the change in the outlook due to the pandemic, but chose not to, keeping the rating unchanged at 'BBB' and outlook 'stable'. The financial rating agency did not publish the report, but reported this evening that there were no changes either in the rating nor in perspective.

Financial rating agencies' calendars are indicative only and they may choose not to take any rating action. On April 17, in an unscheduled assessment, Fitch had lowered Portugal's outlook from “positive” to “stable” due to the “significant” effects of the new coronavirus on the national economy, but maintained the rating in 'BBB', in an assessment that was not on the calendar.

“The shock is likely to disrupt previous improvement trends in economic growth, public debt to GDP and resilience in the banking sector. Portugal's small and open economy, with its high dependence on tourism, is exposed to negative risks from the seriousness of the pandemic ”, argued the agency, in the document released at the time.

Fitch analysts estimate that the Portuguese economy will contract 3,9% this year, 5,6 percentage points less than the last classification, presented about five months ago. At issue is the closing of doors to various businesses, schools and border restrictions. But the greatest concern of experts is the tourism sector and the industries associated with it.

In November 2019, Fitch had maintained the rating of Portugal unchanged at 'BBB', with a “positive” outlook, due to an improvement in national public accounts. “Portugal's rating balances the strength of its institutions, high levels of governance and a higher per capita income than peers who are also in 'BBB', with high levels of indebtedness in the public and private sectors, and low potential growth in the medium term, ”the agency said in that report.

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