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Sep 17, 2007 13:45 EEST
September 17 (SeeNews) - Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) assigned a BB+ credit rating with a stable outlook to Macedonia's long-term debt in foreign currency and a credit rating of BBB- with a stable outlook for long-term debt in domestic currency, the Finance Ministry said on Monday.
The obtained credit rating reflects the continuous economic and fiscal stability backed by a prudent economic and financial policy, the implementation of structural reforms and Macedonia's status as an EU candidate country, the Finance Ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
JCR's assessment is identical to the Standard & Poor's and Fitch's credit ratings which Macedonia obtained earlier this year.
JCR officials evaluated the Macedonian credit rating on the grounds of official statistical data, as well as on the basis of talks with the government, the national bank, independent political observers and international representatives held during a visit to Macedonia in June.
In August the country reported a 0.6% month-on-month rise in the consumer price index (CPI), which fell by a monthly 0.3% in July.
Macedonia's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by one percentage point annually to about 4.25% in 2007 and 5.25% in 2008, driven by domestic demand and improved business environment. In 2006, the country's economy grew by 3.1%, compared to 3.8% a year earlier.
Macedonia signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU in 2001 and was granted EU candidate status in December 2005. However, the European Council has still not set a date for the start of accession negotiations with Skopje.
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