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Canadian rating agency upgrades Argentina, but warns about external shock

Wednesday, October 5th 2011 - 22:05 UTC
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The administration of President Cristina Fernandez lacks long term management The administration of President Cristina Fernandez lacks long term management

DBRS rating agency from Canada upgraded on Wednesday its ratings on Argentina's long-term foreign and local currency securities to “B” from B (low). The trends have been revised to Stable.

The reports states that “Underpinning the upgrade is the progress made in clearing debt arrears and Argentina's positive growth outlook, with what appears to be a strong recovery in GDP growth in 2010 and continued high growth expected in 2011.”

Likewise, it mentions that “Accommodative fiscal and monetary policies are likely to continue, with presidential and congressional elections scheduled for October 2011. Strong growth in neighbouring Brazil, Argentina's main trade partner, and highly favourable world agricultural commodity prices have contributed to the strong recovery.”

Nonetheless, the report clarifies that “there are risks of overheating as the official estimate of monthly growth for the first six months of 2011 was 8.8%, comparable with 2010's 9.2% GDP growth rate.

Additionally, inflationary expectations remain high at 25%. Furthermore, increasing downside risks in advanced economies have the potential to cause a significant adverse external shock to the Argentine economy.”

Despite a favourable growth performance, the following three considerations expressed at the report limit Argentina's credit worthiness:

“1) taxation and expenditure policies lack a long-term economic management framework. As a result, the country is reliant on high export taxes, a financial transactions tax, and transfers of Central Bank (BCRA) profits and reserves for additional resources. If commodity prices were to fall sharply, the ensuing adjustment could be difficult as access to external market financing is likely to remain limited and expensive.

“2) There are large subsidies in place with an unclear economic rationale and a high financial transaction tax. These interventions may distort investment incentives in key sectors and constrain the already limited development of the financial sector, reducing potential GDP growth.

“3) Doubts over inflation reporting persist, calling into question the accuracy of official statistics and the credibility of macroeconomic policies.”

Likewise the report says President Cristina Fernández government is “meeting its financing needs through a number of domestic sources, including the Central Bank. In addition to high fiscal revenues, these sources have been sufficient to accommodate substantial increases in primary spending. Adjusting revenues for the transfer of profits from the Central Bank, revenues from the financial assets of Argentina's national social security program (ANSES), and the 2010 primary surplus of 1.74% of GDP, falls to a small primary deficit of 0.28% of GDP. The brisk increase in primary spending has continued in 2011, with nominal spending during the first seven months of 2011 exceeding the same period last year by 33.6%. Nevertheless, revenue growth has risen by 28.9% over the same period.”

Over the medium term, Argentina's growth prospects appear good, according to DBRS Incorporated, which expressed that it’s “partly because of its relatively well-educated workforce, a positive growth outlook for Brazil, which generates demand for Argentine transportation equipment, and high agricultural commodity prices. If favourable terms of trade persist, this would bode well for export revenue growth while limiting external financing requirements.

Nevertheless, a reversal of the positive terms of trade position could lead to an abrupt and potentially difficult adjustment as access to external financing would likely be limited. A scenario with a large adverse external shock has become more probable as the downside risks to growth in advanced economies have increased. Given this environment, should there be a restoration of confidence in inflation reporting and a more prudent policy stance, with renewed access to market financing, Argentina's foreign and local currency ratings could come under strong upward pressure.

Categories: Economy, Politics, Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • xbarilox

    Of course this will happen, remember that Barrick Gold is taking pieces of argentine resources, you give me your gold and will give you a nice comment ;)

    Cristina and David Rockefeller, nice couple :)

    Oct 05th, 2011 - 10:35 pm 0
  • Artillero601

    “Ni en el más atrasado país africano, se podría perpetrar un negociado de esta naturaleza”..... la “cometa” debe ser enorme no?

    Oct 11th, 2011 - 05:59 pm 0
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