Friday, January 17, 2014 - 09:09
Netherlands keeps Fitch AAA rating; outlook negative
Fitch reaffirmed its triple-A credit rating for the Netherlands on Friday, a decision based on the country's "strong underlying economic, institutional and credit fundamentals," the organization said. However, weak GDP growth predictions contributed to a negative outlook. "This will constrain fiscal consolidation, hampering public debt dynamics," Fitch said in a press release. The group said other factors helped sustain the AAA rating, "including its consistent current account surpluses and positive net international investment position, as well as its strong financing flexibility." A competitive and flexible economic environment with good budget policy, and the ability of politicians and the public to achieve consensus on economic issues were also praised. Financing risks in the Netherlands are also seen as low. Problems the country faces include the depressed real estate market, though Fitch thinks this will level out midway through the year. The negative outlook is due to an unsurprisingly slow economic recovery, rising general government gross debt, and decreasing home values.