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Financial News

Sep 2009 Financial News

T&T's credit ratings up

Sep 16, 2009

International ratings agency Standard & Poor's yesterday lifted a negative credit watch rating from Trinidad and Tobago that stemmed from Government's initial $1.5 billion rescue of CL Financial companies.

Standard and Poor's expects Government's intervention in the group to cost six per cent of the country's GDP for fiscal 2009.

Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira made the announcement yesterday while speaking to reporters during the tea break of the national budget debate at the Red House, Port of Spain.

She said it was proof of Government's sound management of the economy.

"This is not the Government saying this. This is not People's National Movement saying this. This is Standard and Poor's taking us off the negative watch and saying to the people of Trinidad and Tobago that how this Government has managed its business, even in the light of the CL financial issue, that they obviously have a lot of confidence in our macroeconomic fundamentals," she said.

She read from the overview of S&P's report of its positive rating of Trinidad and Tobago after its evaluation of the Government's bailout of insurance giant CLICO, CLICO Investment Bank and other CL-owned firms.

"Although, Trinidad and Tobago's bailout of the CL Financial Group could cost up to six per cent of its expected 2009 GDP, its solid fiscal and external position support its policy flexibility. As a result, we have taken the ratings off credit watch negative, affirmed them and assigned a stable outlook," Nunez-Tesheira said.

Nunez-Tesheira also addressed concerns raised by Government MP Dr Keith Rowley earlier in the budget debate yesterday, about the fact that the Review for the Economy-which gives a detailed analysis of the economy for each financial year before the new one-was not included in the 2010 budget documents.

Nunez-Tesheira said the publication of the document was delayed because of some concern with the accuracy of the figure from the Central Statistical Office (CSO) for the country's public sector debt to GDP.

"It has been reconciled and the economic review will be published. The public sector debt to GDP is 31.3 per cent. I believe nothing has been changed in the review," Nunez-Tesheira said.

Article by: Juhel Browne jbrowne@trinidadexpress.com

Source: Trinidad Express
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_business?id=161531807
Date Published: Tuesday, September 15th 2009