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Sun, 04 Oct, 2015 12:08:00 AM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, Oct 4

International credit rating agency Moody's has kept Finland in the highest rating triple A, local media reported on Saturday.

     Business daily Kauppalehti noted that the final result of the now completed autumn round by the credit rating agencies is "better than expected."

     The decision by Moody's came two weeks after another rating agency Fitch had also chosen to keep Finland in the highest category.

     The third rating agency Standard & Poors dropped Finland to AA plus already a year ago. It maintained the evaluation at the end of September, but changed the outlook for Finland to negative from stable.

     All the three define the outlook now as negative.

    

A key Finnish expert on credit rating, the CEO of the Municipal Quarantee Board, Heikki Niemelainen, described the approach to Finland by the credit raters as "an impatient wait."

     "The raters are waiting, whether the ongoing measures by the Finnish government are efficient enough and growth is resumed," Niemelainen told national broadcaster Yle.

     He said that some of the plans of the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipila are "out of the ordinary" from the point of view of the credit raters.

     Niemelainen noted that during his 15 years in leading the Municipal Quarantee Board he has not encountered a situation where the credit raters mention the constitutionality of the actions of the government.

     Niemelainen referred to the governmental plans to reform social security and health, where the previous government encountered a contravention of the constitution and the reform was delayed.

     Credit ratings have become part of the everyday political discussion in Finland. Local Finnish commentators expected almost without doubt particularly before the Fitch decision came out that Finland would be downgraded.

     A downgrade would be used in popular argumentation endorsing the austerity plans of the current government and the news about continued "triple A" was somewhat incomprehensible. A bank analyst even said the credibility of the credit raters had been put into jeopardy.

     Predictions about a similar choice by Moody's were then more cautious.

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