Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Canada’s AAA credit rating was affirmed by Fitch Ratings with a stable outlook, which cited a “culture of conservative policymaking” that allowed the nation to weather the financial crisis.
An effective fiscal stimulus and “proactive” monetary policy, as well as a commodity-price revival, helped Canada recover more quickly than its developed-nation peers, posting 3.2 percent gross-domestic-product expansion in 2010, Fitch said in a statement today.
Canada’s GDP and employment have both recovered to pre- crisis levels, outperforming all of the nation’s Group of Seven peers, Lucila Broide, a director in Fitch’s sovereign group, said in the statement. The federal government’s commitment to balance its budget by the fiscal year beginning in April 2015 “placed Canada’s credibility ahead of rating peers,” Broide said.
Canada’s gross general government debt at 85.1 percent of GDP remains high compared with the AAA median of 47.2 percent, resulting in government interest payments that are twice the AAA median, Fitch said.
Relatively modest levels of net government debt to GDP, at 30.4 percent, and “strong political and social commitment” to balance the budget underscore its high level of debt tolerance, the agency wrote.
General government debt is expected to start declining over the current year and continue falling in the absence of any shocks, Fitch said. The agency predicted economic growth of 2.3 percent in 2011 and 2.7 percent in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, citing high household debt ratios, the potential for a correction in house prices and a protracted U.S. economic slowdown as downside risks.
Fitch affirmed the U.S.’s AAA credit rating last month, while Standard & Poor’s cut America’s rating to AA+ after lawmakers failed to cut spending enough to reduce record deficits.
--Editor: Dave Liedtka, Greg Storey
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