S&P downgrades Argentina
NEW YORK—Standard & Poor’s cut Argentina’s credit rating by one notch Tuesday, four days after a key New York court ruling on Argentine bonds increased pressure on the government’s ability to manage its debts.
S&P lowered the country’s rating to B- from B, deep into junk bond territory, and appended a negative outlook on the rating, a warning that another rating cut could come within a year if conditions in the Argentine economy worsen.
S&P said the New York appeals court ruling against Buenos Aires on the treatment of some of its debt, along with other recent debt-related actions by the Argentine government, “highlight the increasing challenges the government will likely continue to face to design its economic and debt management policy.”
The agency also said it thought policies put in place since the October 2011 presidential election “could, over time, increase the risk of a deterioration in the country’s macroeconomic framework, put pressure on its external liquidity, and weaken its medium-term growth prospects.”
The policies included new foreign trade restrictions, changes in the operation of the central bank, and increased government intervention in the private sector.
“We believe that these actions could exacerbate the existing weaknesses in Argentina’s economy, including high inflation… and increasingly rigid government expenditures, and result in a deteriorating medium-term fiscal outlook and investment conditions.”
Argentina has been at battle with private creditors since defaulting on debts in 2001, but its struggle to regain credibility in debt markets is being challenged by increasing domestic economic strains and political intervention in markets.
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