Ratings agency Fitch has upgraded Ireland’s sovereign credit rating to AA-.
It is the first time that Fitch has raised its opinion on Ireland since 2017 and returns it to an AA level that was last seen in 2010, as the financial crisis was unfolding.
In its decision, Fitch referred to the continued improvement in Ireland’s tax revenues and the extent of the strong economic recovery from the pandemic.
It also cited its expectation that Ireland’s debt to GDP and debt to national income ratios will enter a firm downward trajectory.
« This is Ireland’s second upgrade by a major ratings agency in 2022, following DBRS Morningstar’s upgrade earlier this month, » said Frank O’Connor, NTMA Director of Funding and Debt Management.
« It is welcome news as it reflects Ireland’s strong economic progress and is consistent with international investor sentiment, which remains very positive. »
The verdict that credit rating agencies like Fitch give on Ireland’s economic situation and outlook can have an important bearing on the state’s cost of borrowing and the appetite for Irish debt among international investors.
“The ongoing trend of improvements in Ireland’s credit ratings is for our ability to continue broadening our investor base, which ultimately increases demand for Irish Government bonds and enhances liquidity in our debt issuance,” said Mr O’Connor.
Ireland is now rated in the AA or equivalent category by three of the four major global ratings agencies – Standard & Poor, Fitch and DBRS Morningstar.
Fitch also declared the outlook on Ireland’s rating to be stable.
In its statement, it said it expects a continued improvement in Ireland’s fiscal metrics, supported by strong revenue performance.
It also said its expectation of a firm downward debt to GDP trajectory is reinforced by the Government’s new medium-term fiscal framework.
« According to a new fiscal rule introduced last September, the permanent increase in Exchequer current spending should be limited to 5% annually, whichs to the economy’s growth potential in nominal terms, » it said.
“In our view, the rule has the potential to serve as an effective tool, limiting growth in current spending and channeling the windfall CIT revenues towards investments and debt repayment.
« However, the rule has not been codified into law, which increases the risk of non-compliance. »
It also referred to how Irish banks have weathered the pandemic and that all rated banks have stable outlooks.
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