Baku, February 25, AZERTAC
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Azerbaijan's Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'BB+' with Negative Outlooks.
The issue rating on Azerbaijan's senior unsecured foreign-currency bond has also been affirmed at 'BB+'. The Country Ceiling has been affirmed at 'BB+'. The Short-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency IDRs have been affirmed at 'B'.
Azerbaijan's 'BB+' ratings balance a strong external balance sheet and low government debt, stemming from accumulated surpluses in times of high oil revenues, with a heavy dependence on hydrocarbons, an underdeveloped policy framework, low governance indicators and a weak banking sector. Economic diversification is progressing very slowly despite some improvement in doing business indicators but the expected rise in oil prices and the start of gas production at the Shah Deniz 2 development around 2019 could lift growth prospects over the medium term.
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