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Fitch retains triple-A credit rating for 'overachieving' Germany

The credit ratings agency Fitch has given Germany top marks in terms of creditworthiness, praising Berlin's efforts to reduce the national deficit. While it said some risks remained, the outlook was said to be good.

Fitch said the affirmation of Germany's triple-A rating owed much to the country's own ability to bring spending under control, as well as a brighter prospect that the eurozone as a whole might do the same.

The New York-based agency said that Berlin had done even better than expected on many of its fiscal targets. It said its analysts believed that Germany's proportion of debt to gross domestic product was shrinking.

"The government has overachieved on some key fiscal targets;" Fitch said in a statement posted on its website.

"Germany has all the ingredients of a declining public debt path," said the statement. "The economy is growing, the budget position is relatively favorable and nominal interest rates are low."

Fitch said in its assessment that Germany had managed a budget surplus last year for the first time since 2007.

It also said that Germany's structural budget balance - a longer term measurement which takes into account cycles of boom and bust - showed that the country was in surplus in 2012 for the first time since reunification.

Improved fiscal governance

Meanwhile, risks associated with the eurozone appeared to have eased, it said, reflecting "the recent strengthening of eurozone governance measures."

However, an intensification of the eurozone's economic woes was still possible, the agency warned.

Fitch said the outlook was stable, meaning that it believes that a downgrade for Germany would be unlikely within the next 12 to 18 months.

The two other main credit ratings agencies, Moody's and Standard & Poor's, have also given Germany top marks recently. However, Moody's has given Germany a negative outlook.

Problems in the eurozone have recently led both Britain and France to lose their triple-A ratings with agencies.

rc/mr (AFP, dpa, Reuters)