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03 Jun 2011
London, 03 June 2011 -- London June 3, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has
today upgraded Angola's foreign and local currency government bond ratings
to Ba3 from B1. The rating outlook is now stable. Today's
one-notch rating upgrade concludes the review for possible upgrade
that Moody's initiated for Angola's ratings on 28 February
The main triggers for the upgrade are:
(I) the improvements in Angola's fiscal and external metrics;
(ii) the implementation of structural elements of the IMF stand-by
agreement (SBA), particularly with regard to the fiscal framework
and its potential impact on reducing Angola's vulnerability to oil
price and on improving institutional strength; and
(iii) the clearing of the arrears that Angola had accumulated during the
global financial crisis.
Moody's has today also upgraded Angola's foreign currency
ceilings for bonds and deposits to Ba1 and B1 from Ba3 and B2, respectively.
The first driver of Moody's decision to upgrade Angola's ratings
was triggered by improvements to the country's fiscal and external
accounts, which have strengthened on the back of the recovery in
oil prices. Both accounts, which were in deficit in 2009
by around 10% of GDP, moved back into surplus in 2010 and
are likely to remain positive over the next two years. The authorities
successfully restored macroeconomic stability within the SBA framework.
Real GDP growth is going to be robust in 2011 at 7.6%,
and even higher in 2012 with the start of the LNG plant in Kwanda.
Moody's continues to view the economy's heavy dependence on
the oil sector as a constraint, especially in the absence of a sovereign
wealth fund. While progress is slow, Moody's notes
that the authorities are trying to foster non-oil GDP over the
In view of the forecast oil proceeds, Moody's expects the
balance sheet of the Angolan government to improve substantially to the
extent that the country could become a net creditor within the next 12
months. However, Moody's cautions that this positive
development should not mask the challenges Angola is facing, such
as high structural inflation, the uncompetitive non-oil economy,
weak governance and limited human capital. Moreover, the
country faces the challenge of continuing rebuilding its infrastructure
which was devastated by a 30-year civil war that ended only in
2002. Fortunately, Angola's oil riches provide the
country with the means to confront these challenges and to modernize the
economy provided that the income derived from these resources are well
The second factor underlying today's rating action is the progress
made by the Angolan government's with the implementation of reforms
linked to the SBA signed with the IMF. The SBA, which will
expire in February 2012, incorporates an ambitious reform program,
including the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund to improve the
management of oil proceeds and greater fiscal transparency. If
successful, these reforms will improve Angola's institutional
strength, which is a key input to Moody's assessment of a
country's creditworthiness, and reduce the vulnerability of
the economy and public finances to oil price volatility. While
Moody's believes that the Angolan government is committed to fully
implementing the reform agenda, the rating agency cautions that
any slippage in implementation could exert negative pressure on the sovereign
The third trigger of today's upgrade is the clearing of the Angolan
government's arrears, which had been accumulated during the
early stage of the global crisis and had posed a significant constraint
on the country's ratings. However, in September and
October 2010, the government paid off almost USD3 billion,
representing half of its domestic arrears. Although the government
had agreed to settle the balance before the end of Q1 2011, it was
not able to fully honour the objective due to delays in finalizing the
validation process by the international auditing firms. In April
and May, approximately USD720 million was paid to suppliers as an
advance payment, thereby clearing the outstanding claims of 185
out of 221 creditors.
Moody's observes that the remaining 36 creditors, which include
large Brazilian and Chinese firms, are about to receive financial
instruments, reflecting the outstanding balance of USD2 billion.
This resolution of the arrears issue also removes a constraint on non-oil
GDP growth. Indeed, as early as September 2010, the
first payment to suppliers had an almost immediate positive influence
on both economic activity and job creation.
PREVIOUS RATING ACTION & METHODOLOGY USED
Moody's last rating action affecting Angola was implemented on 19
May 2010, when the rating agency assigned a B1 rating with a positive
outlook to Angola's government's bond. At the time,
Moody's also assigned a Ba3 rating for the foreign currency bond
ceiling to and B2 for the foreign currency deposit ceiling. The
ratings and ceilings were put on review for possible upgrade on 28 February
The principal methodology used in this rating was Sovereign Bond Ratings
Methodology published in September 2008.
Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following:
parties involved in the ratings, public information, and confidential
and proprietary Moody's Investors Service information.
Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available
on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining
a credit rating.
The rating has been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agents
and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.
Moody's Investors Service may have provided Ancillary or Other Permissible
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website for further information.
Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses
in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources
Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate,
independent third-party sources. However, Moody's
is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or
validate information received in the rating process.
Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com
for the last rating action and the rating history.
The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to
a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized
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Investors Service provides a date that it believes is the most reliable
and accurate based on the information that is available to it.
Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com
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of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.
Sovereign Risk Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
MD - Sovereign Risk
Sovereign Risk Group
Moody's Investors Service
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
Moody's upgrades Angola's sovereign ratings to Ba3 with a stable outlook
One Canada Square
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JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
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