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Financial News: Fitch Maintains South Korea's Sovereign Ratings

Fitch Maintains South Korea's Sovereign Ratings

10/07/2020 - 01:41:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Fitch Ratings maintained sovereign ratings of South Korea citing strong external finances, steady macroeconomic performance and sufficient fiscal headroom going into the coronavirus pandemic.

The sovereign ratings were maintained at 'AA-', with a stable 'outlook'.

Although the pandemic has weighed on economic growth and public finances, domestic control of the virus accompanied by a robust policy response have limited the severity of the deterioration.

The economy is forecast to shrink only 1.1 percent this year before expanding 3.7 percent in 2021.

The fiscal deficit is expected to widen to 4.4 percent of GDP in 2020, from a 0.6 percent shortfall in 2019, as a result of the fiscal response measures to the pandemic.

As inflation is forecast to rise only gradually from an estimated 0.4 percent this year to 1.3 percent by 2022, the central bank is likely to cut rates by another 25 basis points in 2020 and launch a limited asset-purchase programme, the rating agency said.

Fitch expects monetary policy to remain accommodative for the foreseeable future, with a quarter point rate hike pencilled in only in 2022.

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