May 8, 2020 / 8:52 PM / 17 days ago

S&P affirms Qatar's rating at 'AA-', outlook at 'stable'

(Reuters) - S&P Global Ratings on Friday affirmed Qatar’s rating at “AA-“, saying it believes the Arab country’s government and external balance sheets will be able to provide sufficient buffers to withstand shocks.

The agency said it expects a timely policy response from Qatar’s government to shore up its liquidity, given continued challenges in the international capital markets.

Qatar sold $10 billion in bonds in April, the first Gulf state to raise cash in the debt markets against a backdrop of low oil prices and market uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Despite a sharp economic contraction and low hydrocarbon prices, we don't expect the government's fiscal and external stock positions will materially deteriorate beyond our expectations," the ratings agency said in a statement.

Income levels in Qatar remain among the highest of rated sovereigns, supporting its strong credit profile, S&P added.

Ratings agency Moody’s last week cut Saudi Arabia’s outlook, citing higher fiscal risks due to the oil price crash, and uncertainty about its ability to offset the oil revenue losses and stabilize debt.

S&P maintained Qatar’s outlook at “stable”.

Reporting by Nilanjana Basu; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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