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S&P upgrades Indonesia sovereign ratings JAKARTA - Standard & Poor's raised Indonesia's sovereign credit ratings on Wednesday, citing "ongoing progress" in the management of south-east Asia's largest economy. S&P lifted its long-term foreign currency rating one notch to Single B-plus from Single B and its local currency rating two notches to Double B from Single B-plus. It also said the outlook for Jakarta's ratings was positive, meaning future upgrades were likely.
The ratings remain below investment grade and below that of the neighbouring Philippines, where the government faces a fiscal crisis. But the move by S&P is the latest positive news for Indonesia's economy, which is poised to grow almost 5 per cent this year. S&P cited "ongoing progress in Indonesia's macroeconomic stability, steadfast fiscal management, declining debt and debt-servicing burden, and favourable external liquidity" as the main reasons for its move.
Those fundamentals put Indonesia in a good position to achieve more rapid growth than the 4.1 per cent it had averaged in the past five years, S&P said. It was also encouraged by the unfolding political situation in Jakarta following the election of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Paul Coughlin, S&P's managing director of Asian corporate and government ratings, said its view had been reinforced by the weekend election of vice-president Jusuf Kalla as chairman of Golkar, the biggest party in parliament. Golkar's previous leadership had made the party a key component of an opposition coalition in parliament. But Mr Kalla has already moved to dissolve that and "bringing Golkar out of the opposition stance is cream on the cake", Mr Coughlin said.
Fauzi Ichsan, chief economist for Standard Chartered in Jakarta, said the move was widely expected and S&P was now "following the markets" in adopting a more positive outlook towards Indonesia. However, the upgrade takes Indonesia's foreign currency rating one notch above the equivalent at Moody's Investors Service and its local currency rating three notches above.
Yesterday the Indonesian government said it might sell bonds overseas next year in several phases as part of a plan to raise as much as $1.5bn. Aburizal Bakrie, co-ordinating minister for the economy, said the bonds would be issued gradually "in amounts that wouldn't prompt us to have to raise the yields". S&P upgraded Croatia's foreign currency rating one notch from BBB-minus, its lowest investment grade, to BBB, citing its record of reforms and economic progress. Last week EU leaders agreed to start entry talks next year with Croatia.



Posted in Economy @ 22 December 2004 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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