April 24, 2020 / 8:41 PM / a month ago

S&P affirms Italy's sovereign credit rating at 'BBB/A-2' with negative outlook

April 24 (Reuters) - Ratings agency S&P Global on Friday affirmed here Italy's credit rating at 'BBB/A-2', saying that the country's diversified and wealthy economy and net external creditor position partly offset a drag from high public leverage on the sovereign's creditworthiness.

The agency maintained Italy’s outlook at “negative”, adding that it could lower ratings if government debt to GDP fails to shift onto a clearly discernible downward path over the next three years, or if there is a marked deterioration in borrowing conditions that jeopardizes the sovereign’s public finance sustainability.

Italy’s government on Friday hiked its deficit target for this year to 10.4% of GDP, the highest since the early 1990s, and said the public debt would jump to 155.7%.

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 420 on Friday, the smallest daily tally since March 19, the Civil Protection Agency said.

Italy has been one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, registering more than 25,000 deaths, the second-highest toll in the world after that of the United States.

Reporting by Devbrat Saha; Editing by Maju Samuel

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