Rating agency S&P has lowered crude producer Oman’s sovereign ratings deeper into junk territory, citing external challenges, and changed the outlook for Bahrain’s ratings to stable from positive due to the country’s dependence on oil revenue.
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S&P cut Oman’s long-term foreign and local currency sovereign ratings to ‘BB-‘ from ‘BB’, citing higher external risks and indebtedness.
“The sharp drop in oil prices in 2020 will intensify Oman’s fiscal and external pressures, leading to a faster deterioration in the government’s balance sheet, which has considerably weaker buffers than during the 2014-2015 oil price shock,” it said.
The outlook for Oman’s ratings is negative, the rating agency said, reflecting the risk that the government’s medium-term fiscal consolidation plans could be insufficient to stem the rising state debt.
It expects the fiscal deficit will average almost 8% of GDP in 2021-2023.
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