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Kingdom of Saudi Arabia FC Outlook Revised To Positive On External Strength; Ratings Affirmed

January 05, 2006 | Cbonds

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
said today it revised its foreign currency outlook on the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia to positive from stable. At the same time, the 'A' long-term foreign
currency, 'A+' long-term local currency, and 'A-1' short-term sovereign credit
ratings were affirmed. The local currency outlook is stable.
The outlook revision primarily reflects the government's strengthened
external financial position. Foreign reserves of the Saudi Arabian Monetary
Agency (SAMA) are increasing rapidly, and are expected to top $220 billion by
year-end 2006 (from $92 billion in 2004), which is sufficient to cover almost
17 months of current account payments (including private transfers).
Furthermore, the central government has no external debt, nor does it plan to
incur any. Overall, Saudi Arabia is expected to have a net external asset
position of more than 90% of GDP by end-2006.
"The main driver behind the strengthening of the external position has
been high global oil prices," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Farouk
Soussa. "The positive outlook thus reflects our expectations both that oil
prices will remain robust in the medium term, and that Saudi Arabia will
continue its record of fiscal prudence, as well as macroeconomic and monetary
In this context, 2005 fiscal outturns, including a general government
surplus of almost 20% of GDP and a substantial retirement of government
domestic debt, together with expected prudence going forward, support the
positive outlook.
The ratings on the Kingdom are constrained by the measured pace of
political reform. Political institutions remain weak compared with those in
many similarly rated countries, and the political reform process has proceeded
with caution in a system where rule is by consensus.
"The ratings on Saudi Arabia will be raised as the government continues
its sound macroeconomic and fiscal policies, or makes progress on political
reforms," said Mr. Soussa. "Conversely, the government's creditworthiness
could come under downward pressure if there is a sustained fiscal
deterioration, its debt burden increases significantly, external liquidity is
impaired, or domestic and regional political risks increase."

Unternehmen: Saudi-Arabien

Vollständiger FirmennameKönigreich Saudi-Arabien
Land des RisikosSaudi-Arabien


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