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Fitch upgrades Jamaica ratings to 'B-'

Published:Wednesday | February 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM

International rating agency Fitch yesterday upgraded Jamaica's long-term local and foreign currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to 'B-'.

The rating outlook was also upgraded from 'Negative' to 'Stable'. This follows the downgrade in January 2010 when the long-term local currency IDR was downgraded to 'C' and the long-term foreign currency IDR was affirmed at 'CCC'.

The revision in the ratings is attributed to a combination of the recent approval of the US$1.27-billion IMF standby arrangement, the successful Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) and the Government's commitment to maintaining macroeconomic stability and implementing reforms as articulated in the economic programme.

In a release from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, the Government said it was satisfied with the upgraded rating. The ministry said the upgrade represents an endorsement of its policy actions as put forward in its economic programme.

"The upgrade at this time sends a significant signal to international and local investors and will help in reinforcing confidence in the market for Jamaica's debt," the ministry said. "This first step in the recovery of Jamaica's ratings reflects the Government's aggressive policy actions as put forward in the economic programme, and the positive impact and success of the JDX."