Fitch Ratings: Negative Outlook for Panama

Arguing that the pandemic has had a negative effect on the local economy and Panamanian public finances, Fitch Ratings downgraded the country's sovereign rating from BBB to BBB-.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Regarding forecasts for 2021, the rating agency expects Panama to experience an economic recovery with a real growth of 9.2%, driven by the economic opening, public investment projects such as the construction of Metro Line 3, exports from the copper mine, and the recovery of domestic consumption. This growth trend is expected to be maintained by 2022, informed the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Panama (MEF).

The statement dated February 4, 2021 states that "... this rating, although it affects us, does not alter the investment grade that we maintain. Fitch indicates that Panama's investment grade is supported by its high per capita income, product of a history of solid and stable macroeconomic performance that exploits a strategic location and asset (the Panama Canal)."

For Hector Alexander, Minister of Economy and Finance, "it is necessary to highlight that in 2019 the country was going through a difficult situation of public finances and economic activity, in addition to the above, the COVID-19 crisis was added."

The official continued that "... there is no doubt that we are facing a huge challenge as a country and the government is analyzing a series of initiatives regarding the issue of income and expenditure, and the cost-benefit ratio of them. The National Government obtained additional resources to those originally budgeted in the financial markets to address the crisis caused by the pandemic, however, we are aware that new measures will be required to continue addressing the health situation, support for those most affected and those measures that boost economic activity."

Check out the "System for monitoring markets and the economic situation in Central American countries", prepared by CentralAmericaData.



More on this topic

Nicaragua: Risk Rating Continues So Far

November 2019

Standard & Poor's warned that if in the coming months the political environment worsens or access to local and external financing deteriorates again, the debt note could suffer further deterioration.

In November 2018, the agency reduced from B to B the rating of Nicaragua's foreign currency debt with a negative outlook, arguing that the country's fiscal and financial profiles have weakened at that time.

New Warning to Costa Rica

November 2018

Fitch Ratings reported that the country is under observation and for now maintains the rating at BB, awaiting what happens with the fiscal reform and the payment of government debt at the end of the year.

Fitch Ratings, a U.S. risk rating agency, reported on November 15th that Costa Rica would be close to a sovereign rating downgrade because of the country's public finances situation.

Fitch Lowers Rating Outlook for El Salvador

July 2012

Fitch Ratings has downgraded the economic perspective of the rating, making it negative outlook BB.

From the press release by Fitch Ratings:

Fitch Ratings - New York - July 24, 2012: Fitch Ratings affirms its ratings for El Salvador as follows:
- Long-Term Ratings (IDR) in foreign currency and local currency 'BB';

Fitch Downgrades Mexico to 'BBB'

November 2009

Fitch downgraded Mexico's Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from 'BBB+' to 'BBB' in foreign currency and from 'A-' to 'BBB+' in domestic currency.

Both ratings have a 'Stable' outlook. Additionally, the country's ceiling was reduced to 'A-' from 'A'.

Fitch downgraded Mexico's ratings because the country's fiscal situation has gotten worse with the financial crisis and a reduction in Mexican oil production.

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