International credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s announced on Friday it
had raised Israel’s long-term sovereign credit rating from A to A+.
agency said its decision reflected Israel’s rapid economic growth and
responsible economic policy. S&P also reaffirmed Israel’s local currency
rating at AA-.
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Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called the increased
credit rating “a badge of honor” and said it was a reward for the economic
policies adopted during the global financial crisis.
“This achievement is
particularly remarkable given the debt and employment crises that have hit the
credit ratings of many other countries,” he said.
“Israel must not rest
on its laurels. The re-emerging global crisis requires us to act with even
greater vigor, to continue to safeguard the budgetary framework and the economic
policies that S&P emphasized in its announcement,” he added.
said the agency’s emphasis on natural gas discoveries being a strength of
Israel’s economy was a testament to the importance of the recent Sheshinski Law
to raise the state’s shares of gas revenues.
Bank of Israel Gov. Stanley
Fischer also praised S&P’s decision, saying it was important to maintain the
good condition of the economy with the current policies, especially given the
complicated global economic reality.
“I believe the Israeli economy will
continue to justify the faith given to it by the credit rating increase. We at
the Bank of Israel intend to continue to contribute to growth and to economic
stability through responsible monetary policy aimed at maintaining price
stability, through contributing to growth and to employment and through
maintaining the financial system’s stability.”
This is the first time
Israel’s S&P credit rating has been at A+, four steps below AAA. It had been
at A since November 2007, and for the 12 years before that was at A-
The other two major global credit rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch,
have kept Israel’s rating at A1 and A, respectively, since 2008, roughly
equivalent to S&P’s new assessment.
S&P is the same company that,
in August, took the unprecedented step of lowering the credit rating of the
United States from AAA to AA+. The company came under heavy criticism for that
decision, which shocked global markets.