S&P Global Ratings downgrades Pakistan's credit score

"Pakistan's already low foreign exchange reserves will remain under pressure throughout 2023, barring a material decline in oil prices or a step-up in foreign assistance," S&P analysts Andrew Wood and YeeFarn Phua wrote, The News reported. The country also faces elevated political risks which may affect its policy trajectory over the next year.

S&P Global Ratings has downgraded Pakistan's credit score due to the series of shocks - from flooding to surging inflation - that has deteriorated the country's external, fiscal and economic metrics, a media report said.

The nation's credit score was downgraded from B- to CCC+ by S&P, which expects Pakistan's dwindling foreign reserves to remain under pressure in the coming year, just as political risks linger, according to a
statement.

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"Pakistan's already low foreign exchange reserves will remain under pressure throughout 2023, barring a material decline in oil prices or a step-up in foreign assistance," S&P analysts Andrew Wood and YeeFarn Phua wrote, The News reported.

The country also faces elevated political risks which may affect its policy trajectory over the next year.

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Also read | S&P Global forecasts India's growth at 6% for 2023, 7% for 2022

Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service already rank the nation's $7.8 billion in foreign bonds at seven notches below investment grade, the equivalent of S&P's CCC+ rating, on par with El Salvador and Ukraine. S&P also raised the outlook for Pakistan to stable from negative on Thursday, The News reported.

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The country is facing an economic crisis with only enough reserves to cover one month of imports, a dollar shortage and a delay in its loan programme with the International Monetary Fund. Investors are pessimistic about Pakistan's ability to keep up with its foreign debt obligations, with long-term dollar bonds continuing to trade at distressed levels despite the payment of a $1 billion bond this month.

S&P said this year's severe floods, surging food and energy inflation, as well as rising global interest rates, will further depress Pakistan's economic and fiscal outcomes, with refinancing challenges over the medium term, The News reported.

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