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Credit Rating Agency Says Belize’s Debt Ratios Are Stabilising

Moody’s Credit Rating agency has issued a report predicting acceleration in regional economic growth for this year as well as 2016.  According to the report, the tourism industry in the Caribbean is recovering and with the sustained low oil prices, there is an improved outlook.  However, the report did state that concerns over high debt remain.  The report, entitled, ‘Sovereign Outlook Caribbean: Sovereign Credit Quality Supported by Recovery in Tourism, Low Oil Prices’ has also indicated that while the rebound in tourism will help the Caribbean nations that rely on the industry, the individual credit effects will reflect each country’s dependence on this industry.  The report went on to state that median growth in the Caribbean was one point five percent last year and said it expected this to increase to two per cent this year. Moody’s also said regional government debt, which rose following the financial crisis, was slowly stabilising or in some cases declining, putting average sovereign debt metrics on par with those in Latin America.  It pointed out that debt ratios were stabilising in Belize, The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Bermuda, St Maarten, and Trinidad and Tobago, while debt pressures were increasing in Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Debt issues were also said to be easing in the Cayman Islands.  Moody’s said the overall stabilisation in debt levels in the region would help support current rating levels over the next year and a half.  The pickup in the tourism industry, it added, was a credit positive for The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St. Maarten, St Vincent the Grenadines “because their economies depend heavily on tourism”.