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Coface downgrades five countries’ business credit rating

31 October 2016 Coface

Coface, the international trade credit insurance company, has downgraded five countries’ business credit rating, with the UK being the highest profile country downgraded from A2 to A3, noting that the UK still has a low credit risk at “quite acceptable”.

United Kingdom (A3) – Quite acceptable credit risk

Coface expects UK’s growth to reach just 0.9% next year. Coface says consumer and investors are postponing decisions in regard to Brexit. Authorities are worried, as highlighted by the decrease in the BoE key rate to 0.25% for the first time since 2009. An extension of the quantitative easing programme is also a concern.

Mongolia (D) – Very high credit risk

The country has been greatly impacted by the drop in commodity prices and China’s economic slowdown (over 90% of Mongolia’s exports are to China). GDP growth fell from 17.3% in 2011 down to 2.3% in 2015 (with 0.5% expected in 2016).

Nigeria (D) – Very high credit risk

Nigeria’s GDP is set to shrink, on an annual basis, in 2016. There was also a decrease in oil production, hindered by sabotages of oil facilities in Niger Delta. Since June 2016, the naira has lost more than 35% of its value against the dollar and Nigeria has also been affected by a reduction in oil exports which represent 90% of total exports.

Oman (B) – Significant credit risk

Oman is heavily dependent on the hydrocarbon sector (35% of GDP). Public spending has increased, generating significant public deficit in 2016 (around 17% of GDP). The economic slowdown is forecast to continue in 2017. Consumer confidence is weakening and investment growth is expected to be moderate.

Trinidad and Tobago (B) – Significant credit risk

The contraction in activity is continuing in 2016. A sharp price decrease is strongly affected the energy sector, the economy’s key driver representing over 80% of merchandise exports. Production of natural gas and crude petroleum fell by 11.6% and 9.5% respectively, in January-May 2016 on a year-on-year basis.

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