Tags: Fitch | Analyst | Dutch | Rating

Fitch Analyst Reportedly Warns on Dutch Rating

Thursday, 19 Apr 2012 09:56 AM

An analyst at credit rating agency Fitch has warned the Netherlands risks a potential "negative rating action" due to a rise in the country's debt, the Daily Telegraph reported late on Wednesday.

"The Dutch are on the edge of a negative rating action," the British paper quoted Fitch analyst Chris Pryce, the rating agency's expert on the Netherlands, as saying.

Rating agency Standard & Poor's warned in January the Netherlands could lose its top-ranking AAA credit rating this year or next if public finances strayed too far from the deficit-reduction target.

The Dutch minority government and its political ally, the Freedom Party of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, have been in talks for more than six weeks on how to cut the deficit by an estimated additional 1.6 percent of economic output to bring it under the European Union's 3 percent ceiling in 2013.

"We will hold a rating committee meeting in June. They run risks if they keep letting debt rise: a cautious approach would be advisable," Pryce was quoted as saying.

Without policy changes, Dutch state debt is expected to rise to 70.2 percent of GDP at the end of this year and 73 percent in 2013 from 65.2 percent at the end of 2011, Dutch macroeconomic forecaster CPB said last month.

The Netherlands' current account surplus of 7 percent of gross domestic product and a history of credible governments allowed Fitch to be "a bit more generous," the paper cited Pryce as saying.

The Netherlands is one of four countries in the euro zone with the coveted triple-A rating, along with Germany, Finland and Luxembourg.


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