Sri Lanka credit outlook downgraded to negative: S&P

Sri Lanka credit outlook downgraded to negative: S&P

Sri Lanka credit outlook downgraded to negative: S&P

Written by Staff Writer

14 Jan, 2020 | 9:28 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Rating agency, Standard and Poor has downgraded Sri Lanka’s credit rating to negative from stable. In a statement, the rating agency said, the negative outlook reflects their view that a larger-than-expected fiscal deficit will increase the government’s financing needs and concerns over debt sustainability.

The rating agency has also affirmed their ‘B/B’ sovereign credit ratings on Sri Lanka. However, it expects growth to pick up appreciably to 4% in 2020.

It estimates real per capita income to reach about US$4,200 in 2020 and real GDP growth to average 3.8% in 2019-2022. It added, weaker fiscal position will add to the government’s extremely high debt stock.

It estimates net general government debt to reach 83.1% of GDP in 2020 while general government interest expenditure is expected to account for 46.1% of revenues. During the first nine months of 2019, government revenue as a percentage of estimated GDP declined to 9.1% from 9.8% in 2018.

During the same period, total expenditure and net lending as a percentage of estimated GDP remained unchanged at 14.0 as recorded in 2018. During the first 9 months of last year, the overall budget deficit as a percentage of estimated GDP increased to 4.9% from 4.1% in the corresponding period in 2018.

As per Central Bank statistics, outstanding central government debt increased to Rs. 12,874.8 billion by the end of September 2019. Outstanding domestic debt increased to Rs. 6,529.0 billion, and the rupee value outstanding foreign debt increased to Rs. 6,345.8 billion by the end of September 2019.

Sri Lanka must repay US$ 4.8 billion, as external foreign debt this year, which is thus far the largest debt repayment in the history of Sri Lanka.

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