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FinMin sees better ratings

Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová said she is expecting a ratings upgrade from the world's international ratings agencies before the next elections.

But agencies have already said that there is a barrier to any upgrades with uncertainty building over the political make-up of the next government with just 11 months to go to national polling.

Speaking on October 16 the minister said tax laws due to be debated in parliament in the next few days would be crucial to the upgrades as the agencies, including Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch, would be watching fiscal developments closely.

She added though that Slovakia had already drawn praise from economists for its tight fiscal policies connected with the country's European Union pre-accession commitments and its agreement to an International Monetary Fund Staff Monitored Programme.

The three major agencies have already assigned an investment rating for Slovakia in the past. Moody's assigned the rating in May 1995 and S&P and Fitch joined one year later. However, the agencies downgraded Slovakia to speculative grade in 1998. Slovakia is currently rated BB+ by both Standard and Poor's and Fitch, and Ba1 by Moody's. All have assigned a positive outlook to the rating.

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