S&P maintains China's 'A+/A-1' credit rating, stable outlook

FILE PHOTO: The sun sets behind the Central Business District with the CITIC Tower at its centre in Beijing, China, November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

(Reuters) - S&P Global Ratings on Friday maintained its ‘A+/A-1’ rating on the People’s Republic Of China, citing the government’s reform agenda, growth prospects and strong external metrics.

The outlook on China is ‘stable’, S&P said, which reflects the rating agency’s view that the country would maintain its gross domestic product (GDP) growth and improved fiscal performance in the next three to four years.

“Policy changes have helped to rein in credit growth and reduce the reliance of economic growth on public investment. If these trends continue, risks to Chinese economic and financial stability could moderate,” S&P said in a statement.

The rating agency said it may raise its rating on China if credit growth slows significantly and is kept below the current rates, but may downgrade if it sees a higher likelihood that China would allow higher credit growth.

S&P Global Ratings expects China’s economic growth to remain strong at close to 6 percent or more annually through at least to 2020.

“We also expect credit growth in China to be a little above that of nominal GDP over this period.”

Last year, S&P downgraded China’s long-term sovereign credit rating, citing increasing risks from its rapid build-up of debt.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier