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Argentina’s Outlook Revised to Negative by S&P on YPF Takeover

Argentina’s credit rating outlook was revised to negative from stable by Standard & Poor’s, which cited recent policies put in place since President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s re-election in October.

Measures including the nationalization of YPF SA, the Argentine unit of Spanish oil company Repsol YPF SA, and increasing international trade restrictions, “could increase risks to Argentina’s macroeconomic framework, squeeze its external liquidity and hinder medium-term growth prospects,” S&P wrote.

Fernandez announced the takeover of YPF in a televised national address on April 16, saying the company had failed to boost investment and production. Repsol may sue any company that invests in YPF after the seizure, spokesman Kristian Rix said yesterday. Argentina’s Senate will vote tomorrow on Fernandez’s proposal to take a 51 percent stake in YPF. Congress will probably pass the measure quickly, S&P said.

The nationalization will “contribute to Argentina’s deteriorating economic and political links with the international community,” S&P wrote. “As a result, we do not expect Argentina to progress on resolving its now long-standing impediments to regaining access to international markets, or curing the now 10-year-old default to the bilateral creditors of the Paris Club.”

S&P rates Argentina B, five levels below investment grade. A negative outlook places the odds of a downgrade during the coming year of at least a one-in-three.

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