S&P baja calificación de deuda de El Salvador

La calificadora redujo de B+ a B la nota de la deuda soberana de largo plazo, argumentando que la capacidad política para resolver el problema fiscal se reduce cada vez más.

Viernes 14 de Octubre de 2016

Del comunicado de Standard & Poor´s:

El continuo estancamiento político en el país ha derivado en un deterioro de la efectividad institucional y de gobierno, contribuyendo a un deterioro del perfil del país a nivel externo y una mayor erosión en la liquidez del gobierno.

Como resultado, estamos bajando nuestras calificaciones de crédito soberano a largo plazo en El Salvador a 'B' desde 'B +'. Las calificaciones permanecen en Revisión especial con implicaciones negativas. Esperamos resolver la lista CreditWatch a finales de este año, basándonos en el resultado de las negociaciones políticas que afectan el acceso del gobierno a liquidez y la capacidad de gestionar su deuda.

Comunicado completo (en inglés):

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 private-sector pension funds by issuing debt (certificates of pension 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.



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