Turkey Retains Investment Grade Rating at Fitch; Outlook Stable

Turkey retained its investment grade ranking at Fitch Ratings with a stable outlook as the rating company said the country’s government balance sheet remains “strong” amid a deteriorating political environment.

Fitch held Turkey’s ratings unchanged on Friday at BBB-, the lowest investment grade. The rating is in line with Moody’s Investors Service, while Standard & Poor’s rates the nation’s sovereign debt as junk.

“The general government balance sheet is strong and fiscal discipline has been maintained through the electoral period,” Fitch said in a statement. At the same time, “the political environment has deteriorated,” Fitch said, adding that the momentum for reforms has slowed.

Political uncertainties increased before a general election scheduled for Nov. 1. A surge in the war against autonomy-seeking Kurdish militants in southeast and Islamic State warriors in neighboring Syria also shook investor confidence.

The lack of a “political roadmap” for the period to follow the November elections “may result in the loss of investment grade,” Gabor Ambrus, a London-based economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said in an e-mailed report Sept. 15.

The lira was little changed after the Fitch report, trading at 3.0108 per dollar at 4:22 p.m. in New York.

Turkey obtained the investment grade at Fitch in November 2013 and is on par with Indonesia, India and Russia.

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