The outlook on Serbiaâ€™s junk credit rating was raised to positive by Moodyâ€™s Investors Service, which cited the countryâ€™s implementation of structural and fiscal reforms to help ease its debt burden.
Moodyâ€™s left the Balkan nationâ€™s sovereign debt rating at B1, four steps short of investment grade and on par with Vietnam and Kenya. Fitch Ratings has Serbia at the same level, while Standard & Poorâ€™s rates it one grade higher. Both companies raised their outlooks to positive from stable in December and January.
â€œMoodyâ€™s decision to assign a positive outlook to Serbiaâ€™s B1 rating reflects the authoritiesâ€™ commitment to addressing the deterioration in the sovereignâ€™s debt burden,â€ analysts Marco Zaninelli and Yves Lemay said Friday in a statement. The initiatives include the implementation of structural reforms as well as a fiscal consolidation program, they said.
Growth in the the biggest ex-Yugoslav republicâ€™s economy is set to more than double to 1.8 percent this year.
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, whoâ€™s seeking a new term at snap elections next month, wants to narrow Serbiaâ€™s budget deficit and halt increases in public debt. Planned measures include eliminating thousands of jobs in public administration, schools, hospitals, police and state-run companies, part of a three-year austerity program agreed on with the International Monetary Fund.