ECONOMYWar-torn Iraq dealt junk 'B-' rating by S&P
8 hours ago

It only takes analysts with Standard & Poor's a few short words to explain their junk rating on Iraq: it "faces security and institutional risks that are among the highest of all rated sovereigns".

The New York-based rating agency assigned the Republic of Iraq a 'B-' foreign currency rating on Thursday, deep within speculative territory, as the country's ongoing war with Isis and a steep slide in oil prices present significant risk to investors.

Economic activity in Iraq, which also earned a stable outlook from S&P, is expected to rise 0.3 per cent this year before advancing more than 5 per cent over each of the next three years, buoyed by large oil reserves.

The rosy economic forecasts are based on an increase in oil production, which S&P estimates will reach 5m barrels per day by 2018, compared to roughly 3.1m barrels per day last year.

Nonetheless, analysts with the rating agency said:

The rating on Iraq is constrained by its war with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria; political institutions that are in an early stage of development; and sectarian divisions between the Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish ethnic groups.

The rating action comes as policymakers in Iraq plan to meet prospective investors for the country's first international debt sale since 2006, as the government attempts to stabilise its finances.

Credit ratingsEconomySovereign bondsMiddle EastIraqStandard & Poor'sS&P