Fitch downgrades Maldives’ credit rating

Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer | Photo: Ministry of Finance

Male’, Maldives – Fitch Ratings Inc., an American credit rating agency has downgraded Maldives’ long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from ‘B’ to ‘CCC’.

Fitch states that “the downgrade of the Maldives’ IDRs to ‘CCC’ reflects Fitch’s expectation of deeper and more prolonged external liquidity pressures than previously forecast, and a sharp increase in the country’s debt burden as a result of the coronavirus shock and continued debt-funded infrastructure spending.”

This downgrade comes after a previous downgrade in March, from an IDR of ‘B+’ to ‘B’. Fitch stated the rating decrease at the start of the pandemic was due to the fact that the tourism sector which accounts for about 25% of GDP, was forecasted come to a halt and cause an unavoidable recession.

However, in a statement released today by the Ministry of Finance, the Maldivian Government say they disagree with the rating downgrade.

“Maldives, has never defaulted on our debt obligations so far, and this is a distinction that we plan to hold into the future. We are fully committed
to ensure that principal and interest for our sovereign bonds are paid fully and in a timely manner.”

The statement adds that, with the tourism industry restarting in July , though slow by pre-pandemic standards, guest arrival has been improving with each passing month. From less than 2,000 arrivals in July, the arrivals have increased to 21,000 in October. And with the government “proactively working to re-invigorate the tourism sector” by arranging more flights and easing travel restrictions, numbers projected to exponentially increase in the upcoming holiday season.