Fitch affirms Norway at ’AAA’, outlook is stable

International rating agency Fitch affirmed the long-term issuer default rating of Norway at the highest level ’AAA’, Short-term “F1+” with a stable outlook on them, as informed in a press release from Fitch.

“Top Rated Norway reflects the balance sheet which provides it with ample flexibility to deal with adverse shocks and an ageing population. Moreover, North Sea petroleum revenues are prudently managed,” – say analysts from Fitch.

Over the last decade, the GDP growth averaged at 2.8% per year and the unemployment rate held at 3.5%. The trade surplus for the same period averaged 13.7% of GDP. At the same time, the agency notes the high dependence of the economy on oil revenues, which is a factor weakening the rating.

Fitch expects Norwegian banks would cope with a moderate fall in house prices without a significant increase in loan impairment charges. The credit profile of the country will continue to be strong, and the risk of poor ratings in the near future is low.

At the same time, the long downturn in the oil market, the “overheating” of the economy and the aging of the population continue to be risk factors. Agency forecasts the average price of oil barrel in 2013 to be $105 and $100 in 2014-2015.

“The debt crisis of the euro zone will not disrupt Norwegian banks’ ability to access financing,” – stated in the release.

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