MILAN, April 11 Rating agency DBRS said on Friday it confirmed its A (low) credit rating on Italy to reflect the country's strong commitment to fiscal consolidation, but kept its outlook 'negative'.
Toronto-based DBRS said in a statement that Italy's budgetary position remained relatively strong and compared favourably with the Euro area average.
It added that the 'negative' trend reflected its assessment that risks, stemming from Italy's fragile economic prospects and large debt stock, remain skewed to the downside.
In February Moody's lifted its outlook on the country to 'stable' from 'negative', the first sign of a possible change in sentiment towards Italy's sovereign debt since the start of the euro zone crisis.
DBRS is the only one of the four rating agencies used by the European Central Bank that has kept Italy's rating in the A category during the financial crisis. This avoided extra charges on government debt posted as collateral to borrow from the central bank.
The next rating announcements are expected on April 25 from Fitch, which currently rates Italy a BBB+ with a 'negative' outlook, and on June 6 from S&P, whose rating is BBB with a 'negative' outlook. (Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari, writing by Danilo Masoni, editing by Isla Binnie)