S&P Affirms Bulgaria Ratings, Outlook Stable

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service confirmed its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Bulgaria at ‘BBB/A-3’ with a stable outlook.

The ratings reflect “the government’s strong track record of appropriate fiscal policy and low gross and net general government debt,” the ratings company said today in a statement. S&P expects Bulgaria’s economic recovery “to lose steam in 2012, and growth to decline to 1.5 percent, from around 2.0 percent in 2011,” reflecting an economic slowdown in Bulgaria’s main trading partners in the European Union.

S&P rates Bulgaria’s long-term sovereign debt level with Russia and Lithuania. Bulgaria’s sovereign debt is rated Baa2 by Moody’s and BBB- by Fitch Ratings.

Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest country in terms of economic output per capita, withstood the global recession in 2009 without an international bailout. Its economic growth slowed to 1.6 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter, the weakest in five quarters, as demand for exports among the country’s main trading partners dwindled. Bulgaria ships 60 percent of its exports to the EU.

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