Business

Minister welcomes S&P’s positive outlook

  • Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, has welcomed Standard & Poor’s affirming of the island’s ratings (File photograph)

Standard & Poor’s has kept its ratings for Bermuda unchanged, with the outlook remaining positive.

Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, welcomed the news. He said: “According to S&P, the key drivers for the rating affirmation are our economic strength, especially in the tourism and construction sectors, as well as the improving fiscal results.

“The ratings agency further explained that our positive outlook reflects that we have a ‘one-in-three’ chance of a ratings upgrade, by one notch, in the next year if we sustain the improvement in economic growth and fiscal prudence.”

S&P affirmed Bermuda’s A+ long-term sovereign credit and senior unsecured debt ratings as well as its A-1 short-term rating and its AA+ transfer and convertibility assessment on Bermuda.

The agency said it expects Bermuda’s real GDP to continue rising and stay close to 1 per cent this year and next year, following a 0.5 per cent growth rate for 2018.

However, it adds that “ongoing consolidation” in international financial services could weigh on growth.

Mr Dickinson said: “I am pleased that S&P has affirmed Bermuda’s A+ long-term sovereign credit and senior unsecured debt ratings as well as is considering a positive rating action if we are able to sustain the improvement in our economic and fiscal position.

“This Government’s focus on credible economic and fiscal policies, working collaboratively with our industry partners and exploring realistic opportunities to diversify our economy is strengthening Bermuda. The end goal is a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive economy for all of Bermuda.”

The construction of the new terminal at LF Wade International Airport, continuing hotel development, and the refurbishment of Belco’s generation capacity, along with “possibly rising tourist arrivals” should drive economic growth this year, according to S&P.

The major rating agency also said: “We view Bermuda’s policymaking as largely effective, predictable, and proactive, and its political institutions as stable. We believe the territory is willing to implement reforms to ensure the long-term sustainability of public finances.”