S&P Affirms Kazakhstan’s Credit Rating at BBB-

NUR-SULTAN –  The S&P Global Ratings international rating agency recently confirmed the long-term and short-term sovereign credit ratings of Kazakhstan at the level of BBB-/A-3 with a stable outlook, said Kazakh Deputy Minister of National Economy Zhaslan Madiyev. 

The sustainable fiscal position of the country supports Kazakhstan’s rating, said the agency, including the nation’s assets in the National Fund, which accumulates oil revenues and as of June amounted to $57.7 billion, and low level of the nation’s external debt, which made $152.7 billion as of April 1, 2020. 

The government measures to support the economy and minimize the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the high level of stability and predictability of state institutions also stimulate the nation’s fiscal stance. 

The agency forecasts a rapid recovery of Kazakh economic growth in the short term and expects the average economic growth rate to reach 3.9 percent in 2021-2023, but anticipates the economy to contract by two percent this year, the biggest economic slowdown since 1998, caused by low oil prices, COVID-19 restrictions and oil production cuts under OPEC+ (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) agreement. 

In 2019, non-oil sectors, including construction, transport, and processing industry, served as the main driver of the nation’s economic growth and will support the economic recovery and production growth in 2020-2022, according to S&P. 

“In general, S&P’s maintenance of Kazakhstan’s sovereign credit rating and the recent confirmation by the Fitch Ratings amid the coronavirus crisis should send an important message to foreign and domestic investors that the macroeconomic situation and creditworthiness of Kazakhstan remain stable. In comparison, in the period from March 9 this year, S&P downgraded the credit ratings and outlooks of 57 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Estonia, and Uzbekistan,” wrote Kazakhstan’s popular Tengenomika Telegram channel that provides regular analytical materials across different areas of the economy in Kazakhstan and abroad.  

In August, the Fitch Ratings credit rating agency affirmed Kazakhstan’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at the BBB level with a stable outlook.  The agency noted that the country managed to maintain a low level of public debt that can protect it from external shocks despite the shocks associated with oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

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