Standard&Poor’s (S&P) — is an international rating agency that analyzes the financial markets and economies of different countries. S&P is one of the three largest rating agencies in the world along with Fitch and Moody's.
The agency has been assigning credit ratings to countries, banks, and companies since 1916. It studies the history of economic development, government reforms, the size of government debt, inflation, and the value of the national currency. It also takes into account external factors that might affect the country's economy, such as global financial crises and sanctions.
The aggregate assessment of economic factors is expressed in a letter index. It indicates the level of a country's creditworthiness: how high the country is likely to meet its financial obligations to creditors and investors.
The agency regularly reviews credit ratings of countries. It also gives an outlook on the long-term development of the economy: "positive" "stable", "negative".
What the S&P credit rating letter index means
|ААА||The highest level of creditworthiness, exceptional stability of the economy|
|АА+ / АА / АА-||Very high creditworthiness and sustainability of the economy|
|А+ / А / А-||High creditworthiness, but the economy is sensitive to changes in circumstances and the global financial situation|
|ВВВ+ / ВВВ / ВВВ-||Sufficient creditworthiness, but the economy is exposed to adverse economic factors|
|ВВ+ / ВВ / ВВ-||The economy is stable in the short term, but maybe unstable in the long term due to the presence of adverse economic and financial factors|
|В+ / В / В-||The country is creditworthy at the time of assessment, but the economy is vulnerable to adverse economic, financial, and business factors|
|ССС+ / ССС / ССС-||The economy is weakened, creditworthiness depends on the availability of favorable economic, financial, and business factors|
|СС||The economy is vulnerable, there is a possibility of default|
|С||The economy is extremely vulnerable, very low creditworthiness|
|D||The economy is in default, credit obligations are not met|
Governments use the agency's recommendations to improve the economic situation and financial policy. Investors are guided by the credit rating when choosing a country and an object by investment.
11 countries with AAA credit ratings from S&P in 2021
What is the credit rating of countries with citizenship and residence permit programs by investment
Investors consider a country's credit rating when they intend to obtain second citizenship or a residence permit by investment. Especially if they plan to invest in returnable investments: government bonds, local businesses, or real estate.
Credit rating of countries with programs in 2021
|Country||Credit rating, forecast|
Switzerland rated AAA, has sufficient financial reserves, the state spends its budget money efficiently, and its financial institutions are crisis-resistant. This allows the country to cope with the consequences of the pandemic without losing creditworthiness. Switzerland will retain its highest credit rating until at least 2023.
Austria has an AA+ rating and is quickly recovering from the effects of the pandemic. In 2020, the country's GDP fell by 6.6%, but at the end of 2021, the dynamics will become positive. The European Commission forecasts growth of 2%, the International Monetary Fund - 3.5%. Austria will manage to stop the growth of national debt by the end of 2022 at the latest.
The UK retained its high AA credit rating in 2021 thanks to the rapid spread of the coronavirus vaccine. The economy began to recover when the government lifted the quarantine and allowed businesses to resume operations. In the future, the country's credit rating could be affected by the terms of trade relations with the European Union.
Spain with a rating of A became the only EU country that received a negative economic outlook in 2021. The state's financial policy was ineffective, and reforms did not bring results. Political instability is growing in the country.
Malta will not lose its creditworthiness and A- rating despite losses due to the pandemic. The country's GDP will grow by 4.5% in 2021, the European Commission predicts.
The Maltese government is improving policies to combat corruption and money laundering. If the government continues reforms in the financial sector and effectively spends cash grants from the European Union, the country's credit rating will improve.
Portugal rated BBB, will rebuild its economy in two years with financial aid from the European Union. The government is spending the budget sparingly and is implementing reforms aimed at sustainable economic development in the future.
In November 2020, Fitch Ratings also affirmed Portugal's credit rating at BBB. Analysts of the agency noted that tax incentives and state loans help businesses in the country to cope with the crisis. We talked about this in the article "Should investors consider Portugal".
The Cypriot economy will grow steadily over the long term, as evidenced by the outlook and the BBB- rating. The country's budget has been in the black for several years, which has reduced the national debt. But Cyprus is heavily dependent on tourism, with 20% of GDP coming from tourism. The consequences of the pandemic may be more serious for the Cypriot economy if the flow of tourists does not recover in the summer of 2021.
Greece improved its credit rating from BB- to BB in April 2021. GDP will grow by 4.9 % in 2021 or another 5.8 % in 2022. The positive outlook also means that the Greek economy will recover quickly in the next year and a half. If the forecast comes to fruition, Greece could improve its creditworthiness to a high level.
Moody's also upgraded Greece's credit rating in November 2020. The government's reforms promote a sustainable economy, improve tax laws and fight corruption. We talked about this in the article "When to Invest in Greece's Economy".
Turkey maintains a stable credit outlook and a B+ rating. The country has a strong private sector economy and the government controls inflation. But the unstable Turkish lira and losses from the pandemic could hamper GDP growth in 2021.
Montenegro lost one credit rating position from B+ to B in March 2021. The country's GDP fell by 15.5 % in 2020, because the economy depends on tourism. But the government has accumulated enough financial reserves to keep the country's public debt from growing. If international tourism recovers in 2021, Montenegro will cope with the effects of the pandemic in a few years.
Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for European citizenship and residency programs by investment. If you want to invest in a sustainable economy and obtain a second passport or residency status, seek advice from experts in investment programs.