Moody's Investors Service upgraded the ratings of foreign-currency bonds issued by the Republic of Tunisia and the Central Bank of Tunisia to Baa2 from Baa3. The country ceilings for bonds and deposits were also upgraded to Baa2 from Baa3 and Ba1, respectively. The short-term country ceilings for notes and deposits were upgraded to Prime-2 from Not Prime. The outlook for all ratings is stable.
Moody's said that the key factors underlying today's rating actions are the Tunisian economy's stability and resilience to external shocks. In 2002, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew only 1.9 percent, the lowest growth rate in a decade.
This was caused by four years of consecutive drought, the world economic recession, and the effects of September 11 and Djerba on the tourism sector. Nevertheless, the current account deficit and budget deficits narrowed to 3.8 percent and 2.6 percent of GDP, respectively, according to Moody’s.
Over the past decade, Tunisia has averaged real GDP growth of above five percent despite the volatility of agricultural output, Moody's noted. These consistently high rates of growth are the result of a large increase in investment, continued growth in exports and a highly diversified strategy in the tourism sector. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )