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Saudi Finance Minister Says Happy With Fitch AA- Rating

Saudi Finance Minister Says Happy With Fitch AA- Rating

"This credit rating is considered to be excellent in light of the international economic conditions and regional circumstances," Alassaf was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the central bank.

April 3, 2012 7:58 by

Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said Fitch’s reaffirmation of the kingdom’s AA- credit rating on Monday with a stable outlook was “excellent”.

The world’s top oil exporter, which has foreign reserves larger than the size of its economy, saw economic growth of 6.8 percent last year on the back of a surging energy market.

The highest rating Fitch awards economies is AAA, but the agency said on Monday that Saudi Arabia’s score suffered from the heightened political risk in the Middle East.

Fitch forecast economic growth of 4 percent for the kingdom this year, but on Sunday Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed al-Jasser, who is a former SAMA governor, said he expected it to reach 6 percent.

The SAMA governor Fahd al-Mubarak, who was appointed in December, said in the statement that Saudi Arabia would “continue to modernise the infrastructure and stimulate economic activity in order to diversify sources of income,” indicating government spending may remain high.           (Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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