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S&P lowers Tunisia's long-term sovereign credit rating to BBB-, but outlook stable -  17/03/2011 


Standard and Poor's (S&P) Ratings Services, on Wednesday, lowered Tunisia's long-term foreign currency credit rating to BBB-, and assigned a stable outlook, in view of the country's economic and political uncertainty.

S&P specified that growth prospects in Tunisia depend on the revival of industry and tourism and the Interim Government's ability to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

"The political and economic legacy of the regime of Ben Ali deposed last January 14, and the precipitous transfer of power have damaged Tunisia's prospects for growth, public finance and external balance, the Agency specified, adding that " the political risks are commensurate with low-investment-grade risk."

S&P pointed out that "downward pressure on the ratings could re-emerge if renewed uncertainty about the political transition or weaker economic policies depress growth, enlarge fiscal deficits beyond our forecasts, or pressure the country's balance of payments.

Conversely, we may raise the rating over the medium term if a new government is able to establish its credibility," it added.

Another rating agency, Fitch, had downgraded Tunisia's sovereign debt rating early March also at BBB-, but maintaining a negative outlook, unlike S&P.