S & P Downgrades El Salvador's Debt

The ratings agency has reduced the rating for long-term sovereign debt from B + to B, arguing that political capacity to resolve the fiscal problem is shrinking.

Friday, October 14, 2016

From a press release by Standard & Poor´s:

Continued political stalemate in El Salvador has led to a deterioration of institutional and governance effectiveness, which has contributed to a weaker external profile, and a further erosion of the government's liquidity.

As a result, we are lowering our long-term sovereign credit ratings on El Salvador to 'B' from 'B+'.

The ratings remain on CreditWatch with negative implications. We expect to resolve the CreditWatch listing by the end of this year, based on the outcome of political negotiations that affect the government's access to liquidity and ability to manage its debt.

RATING ACTION
On Oct. 13, 2016, S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of El Salvador to 'B' from 'B+'. The short-term sovereign ratings are unchanged at 'B'. The ratings on El Salvador remain on CreditWatch with negative implications. The 'AAA' transfer and convertibility assessment is unchanged.

RATIONALE
The downgrade reflects deterioration in our assessment of El Salvador's institutional and governance effectiveness, which has contributed to a weaker external profile, and a further erosion of the government's liquidity position.

Continued political stalemate between the governing party Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional and the main opposition party ARENA (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista) has blocked progress on fiscal and pension reform, undermining investor confidence. It has also imposed a heavy cost on financial management by weakening the government's ability to raise added revenues and to manage its debt.

There has not been consensus from a qualified majority in Congress to approve the issuance of external debt due to opposition from ARENA. As a result, it has accumulated around $1 billion in short-term locally issued debt (called LETES), approaching the constitutional limit of $1.3 billion.

We project that the current account deficit is likely to exceed 3% of GDP in the next three years, contributing to weaker external liquidity. We project that the country's gross external financing needs will exceed 100% of current account receipts and usable reserves in the next couple of years. Net general government debt is likely to approach 60% of GDP in 2018, compared with less than 55% of GDP in 2013.

Political differences have blocked reform of El Salvador's pension system, whose persistently weak finances have contributed to growing government debt. The pension system deficit, around 2% of GDP, has accounted for about half or more of the government's fiscal deficit in recent years.

Lack of liquidity recently led the government to direct the Fideicomiso de Obligaciones Previsionales, a trust managed by BANDESAL, the country's development bank, to fund its maturing obligations to the country's investment, CIP) instead of paying with cash. Such steps provide only short-term relief. Pension fund holdings of CIPs are currently around 41% of their total assets, but the funds are limited to holding only up to 45% of their portfolio in such assets.

Our ratings on El Salvador reflect limited fiscal flexibility, lack of monetary flexibility, and low per capita income (estimated at just above $4,300 in 2016). We believe that the government has limited ability to raise additional revenues and that the country suffers from a shortfall in basic services and infrastructure. El Salvador lacks its own currency and has forgone having a lender of last resort for its banking system.


CREDITWATCH
We expect to resolve the CreditWatch listing by the end of this year, based on the outcome of political negotiations between the government and political parties in Congress. We could lower the rating if political stalemate were to continue, further weakening the government's debt burden and its access to liquidity.

Conversely, we could affirm the ratings at their current level if successful negotiations contain the deterioration in fiscal policy and financial management, thereby improving the government's liquidity position and debt management in the short term and stabilizing its debt burden over the long term.



More on this topic

S&P Upgrades El Salvador's Rating

January 2019

Standard & Poors raised the rating from CCC+/C to B-/B, with a stable outlook, arguing that in the next three years the fiscal deficit will be moderate, and its debt levels will remain unchanged.

From the Standard & Poors report:

RATINGS
Foreign Currency: B-/Stable/B

El Salvador: Debt Rating Gets Worse

December 2016

Two months after reducing the rating from B + to B, Standard & Poor's has now reduced the note to B-, with a negative outlook.

From a press release by Standard & Poor's:

OVERVIEW
El Salvador's liquidity has deteriorated significantly because of protracted negotiations between the government and opposition parties on a comprehensive set of fiscal reforms that has weakened debt management.

S&P Puts El Salvador's Rating Under Special Review

October 2016

The agency warns of weakening of the government's ability to access new resources, and that it could be downgraded in the next three months.

From a press release by Standard & Poor´s:

OVERVIEW

In our view, El Salvador's financial management is deteriorating, as reflected in a weakening of the government's ability to gain access to liquidity, due to heightened political polarization.

El Salvador: Moody's Downgrades Rating to B1

August 2016

The government's inability to stop the growth of debt in the context of low economic growth and a high fiscal deficit is the reason for the reduction in the rating.

From a press release by Moodys:

New York, August 11, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded El Salvador's issuer and debt ratings to B1 from Ba3 and placed the ratings on review for further downgrade.

 close (x)

Receive more news about Economics

Suscribe FOR FREE to CentralAmericaDATA EXPRESS.
The most important news of Central America, every day.

Type in your e-mail address:

* Al suscribirse, estará aceptando los terminos y condiciones


Looking for Importers and distributors of furniture

Mexican manufacturer of office furniture seeks importers and distributors interested in dealing their products in Central America.
PM Steele is a 100% Mexican company, with more than 67...

Stock Indexes

(Apr 6)
Dow Jones
-5.60%
S&P 500
-5.10%
Nasdaq
-5.64%

Commodities

(Apr 3)
Brent Crude Oil
35.86
Coffee "C"
116.10
Gold
1,638
Silver
14.525