Fitch reaffirms Ireland’s credit rating at BBB+ with a stable outlook

Ratings agency Fitch has reaffirmed Ireland’s rating at BBB+ with a stable outlook.

Fitch had already rated Ireland’s credit worthiness as ‘BBB+’, three notches above sub-investment grade status, with a ‘stable’ outlook. Most analysts didn’t expect this rating to change.

The update comes just a month after Moodys, the most influential of the international credit rating agencies, raised its rating for Ireland to investment grade in a decision that followed months of lobbying by the Government.

Today Fitch also said the rating of National Asset Management Ltd’s (NAMA) guaranteed issuance has been affirmed at ‘F2’, in line with the sovereign rating.

“Ireland successfully completed its three-year adjustment programme in December 2013,” it said in a note.

“All quarterly fiscal targets of the EU/ECB/IMF Troika programme have been met, underpinned by strong policy commitment.”

Fitch said that parallel with fiscal consolidation, Ireland has returned to market financing and has built up cash buffers equivalent of 13pc of GDP by end-January 2014, including €3.75bn from a 10-year bond sale in January 2014.

The agency is forecasting a budget deficit of 4.8pc of GDP in 2014, implying a balanced primary position, compared with a primary deficit of more than 9pc of GDP in 2009 excluding bank recapitalisation.

“Nevertheless a further €2bn of consolidation will be needed next year to reach a budget deficit below 3pc of GDP, the precondition to exit the EU’s Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP).”