Aruba's Credit Rating Downgraded by S&P

By Marc Castro

Jun 15, 2013 01:07 PM EDT

In a move made last Friday, Standard & Poor's credit ratings agency had downgraded the sovereign credit rating of Aruba. The country's rating now stands at BBB+ from A-.

The reason for such downgrade is the deterioration of its fiscal and external balance sheets after the recent closure of the island-country's oil refinery. The overall outlook given by the ratings agency is stable.

According to a statement from S&P, "Closure of the Valero refinery likely led to an economic contraction of 1.2% of GDP in 2012. Furthermore, the closure will contribute to larger current account deficits and a higher external debt burden in the coming two years."

The main financial and fiscal issues were the closure of the country's oil refinery added on top of the pressure for expenditure requirements for health care and pensions have weakened the public finances of Aruba, according to S&P. On the other hand, the rising tourism receipts with a public investment program that would help provide additional economic stimulus that would help soften the blow of the closure of the refinery for the country's overall financial position.

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