Four Caribbean Countries Get A Ratings Downgrade From S&P

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Belize is among the countries whose ratings have been revised to negative.
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By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. April 22, 2020: Four Caribbean countries have been given a ratings revision to “negative” as all eyes turn quickly to the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

S&P Global Ratings’ has revised its outlook to negative from stable on Aruba, Belize, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic – all tourism dependent nations.

The ratings agency said the decision was made because “the sudden stop in tourism, will cause unprecedented declines in GDP, fiscal balances, and foreign exchange inflows” in those nations.

“These sovereigns are some of the most tourism-dependent countries in the world, and they rely heavily on international visitors, largely from North America, to contribute to their GDP, fiscal revenues, and foreign exchange inflows,” the report said.

And as S&P forecasted 60%-70% decline in tourism to the Caribbean region in from April to December, with the largest declines occurring in the second and third quarters.

Aruba is now rated as BBB+/Negative/A-2  from BBB+/Stable/A-2; Belize is now CCC/Negative/C from B-/Stable/B; the Dominican Republic is BB-/Negative/B from BB-/Stable/B and Jamaica is B+/Negative/B from B+/Stable/B.

S&P said it could add other countries to the list but “any future rating actions will depend on its evolving assumptions for the spread of the pandemic, the impact on tourism, the timeliness and adequacy of the policy response in each country, and the underlying economic and political resilience of the country.”