Fitch downgrades Italy rating to BBB- due to COVID-19

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Photo taken on April 11, 2020 shows an empty street in Rome, Italy. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed 19,468 lives in locked-down Italy, bringing the total number of infections, fatalities and recoveries so far to 152,271, according to the latest data released by the country's Civil Protection Department on Saturday. (Xinhua/Cheng Tingting)
Photo taken on April 11, 2020 shows an empty street in Rome, Italy. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed 19,468 lives in locked-down Italy, bringing the total number of infections, fatalities and recoveries so far to 152,271, according to the latest data released by the country's Civil Protection Department on Saturday. (Xinhua/Cheng Tingting)

Fitch Ratings, a U.S. credit rating agency, said here on Tuesday it has downgraded Italy’s credit rating to “BBB-” from “BBB” due to the “impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

Fitch put Italy’s rating only one level above “junk,” saying “the downgrade reflects the significant impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on Italy’s economy and the sovereign’s fiscal position.”

Italy was one of the countries hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, with over 201,500 confirmed cases and 27,359 virus-related deaths.

Fitch said it forecasted that Italy’s gross domestic product would shrink by 8 percent in 2020, mentioning that “the risks to this baseline forecast are tilted to the downside.”

Fitch’s move did not take into consideration the decisions taken by the European Union and the European Central Bank, Italian Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Gualtieri said the fundamentals of Italy’s economy are solid.

The agency projected that Italy would curb the spread of the virus in the second half of 2020 and its economy would embrace “a relatively strong” recovery in 2021. Enditem

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