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Howai: T&T credit rating holds steady

Minister of Finance and the Economy Larry Howai yesterday confirmed that Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has affirmed its A/A-1 long and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Trinidad and Tobago.
The Minister pointed out that this comes on the heels of the successful bond issue of US$550 million which was recently executed on the international capital market.
“S&P recognises that Trinidad and Tobago’s economy is gaining momentum as the major programme of maintenance works and upgrades in the energy sector has now been completed, with the expected effect of expanding our energy output in 2014,” said Howai.
“S&P have also recognised our changes in tax and other policies in recent years, which have encouraged more activity within the sector. These initiatives and the latest seismic results have resulted in an increase in offshore drilling activity, increased optimism on the part of major players such as BHP, BG and BP, and new expansion plans from producers and new overseas investors. As a consequence, the recent land-based bid round was one of the most successful in the last three decades,” the minister added.
“S&P has projected a 2.6 per cent expansion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014, based on both recovering energy output and continued growth in the non-energy sector. It has also been estimated that the economy will continue to grow, with the pace of activity increasing in the region of two to three per cent annually over the next three years.
“Trinidad and Tobago’s stable outlook has also been re-affirmed by S&P on account of its expectation that a sound external profile will be maintained, resulting from persistent current account surpluses and local financing of the public sector deficit,” said Howai.
In its own press release, S&P stated: “The ratings of Trinidad and Tobago are supported by the country’s net external asset position, low vulnerability, and stable political system. The country’s long-established parliamentary democracy and social stability should sustain political consensus on economic policies.”
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