NEW YORK Feb 19 Brazil is unlikely to lose its
investment grade status from Standard & Poor's over the next few
years even if it suffers a rating downgrade soon, an analyst
with the ratings firm said on Wednesday.
Lisa Schineller told Reuters in an interview that S&P
slapped a negative outlook on Brazil's BBB credit rating last
June because it saw a "bit-by-bit deterioration" in the
country's macroeconomic fundamentals, not a dramatic unraveling
of its credit story.
"We've seen deterioration in the government debt profile,
but it's more likely to be consistent, if there is a downgrade,
with a BBB-minus," Schineller said, stopping short of concluding
that Brazil would receive a stable rating outlook if downgraded.
A BBB-minus rating is the lowest investment-grade category
for S&P. Brazil currently stands at BBB, two notches into
investment-grade territory, but S&P said in June that there was
a one-in-three probability that a rise in the government's debt
burden and an erosion of macroeconomic stability would lead to a
downgrade over the next two years.