Credit upgrade for Bahrain
Standard & Poors (S&P) announced on April 5, 2006 that it is upgrading Bahrain’s sovereign foreign currency debt rating to “A”, from the previous level of “A-”. As a consequence of the upgrade, the outlook was moved from “positive” to “stable”.
The upgrade covers all foreign currency senior unsecured debt of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and is effective immediately. The upgrade also covers Bahrain’s sovereign sukuk issues, including the BMA International Sukuk Co. $250 million Ijar’a sukuk notes maturing in 2009. Bahrain’s long and short-term local currency debt rating remained unchanged at “A”.
S&P noted that the upgrade reflected the continued structural reforms and prudent financial polices of the Government of Bahrain, in particular the accelerated rate of privatization and the improvements in fiscal transparency. Monetary stability, a well-developed financial system, and strong growth in the non-oil sector also contributed to the upgrade.
Rasheed Al-Maraj, Governor of the BMA, stated, “S&P’s upgrade is a vote of confidence in the economic and financial strength of Bahrain. It also shows the very real benefits to be had from pursuing our broad reform programme.”