BAHRAIN. Bahrain's creditworthiness escaped a possible downgrade at Fitch Ratings because of reduced near-term political and economic risks in the island-kingdom that contended with anti-government protests earlier this year.
Fitch said it removed the Gulf kingdom from its Credit Watch Negative list for borrowers facing a possible downgrade.
Bahrain’s long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating was affirmed at BBB, the second-lowest investment grade, and its local-currency issuer default rating at BBB+.
“The resolution of the Rating Watch Negative and affirmation of the rating reflects Fitch’s view that the near- term risks to the political and economic outlook have abated following the lifting of the state of emergency on 1 June,” the rating company said in an e-mailed statement today.
Protesters, mostly members of Bahrain’s Shiite Muslim majority, revolted in February against the island’s Sunni rulers, demanding more political representation. A Saudi Arabian-led military force from the Gulf Cooperation Council helped the government quell the uprising, which was inspired by revolts that swept the Arab world this year and forced the ouster of the leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.
Moody’s Investors Service lowered Bahrain’s credit rating one level in May to Baa1, the third-lowest investment grade, from A3 with a negative outlook. On July 20, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed Bahrain’s long- and short-term local and foreign-currency sovereign credit ratings at BBB/A-3 with negative implications and removed the country from CreditWatch negative.