S&P provide Jordan with B+/B credit ratings

S&P Global Rating
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — On Sept. 8, 2023, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'B+/B' long and short term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Jordan. The outlook remains stable.اضافة اعلان

They are considering that Jordan's reform momentum and donor support will remain strong, offsetting the risk that external headwinds could undermine the country's fiscal consolidation trajectory and push the already-elevated debt burden even higher.

Confronting difficulties
Jordan's economy has faced numerous shocks in recent years, including spillovers from the Syrian civil war, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war. These events have left a wake of high unemployment, elevated public debt, and persisting strain from the continued hosting of roughly 1.3 million Syrian refugees (about 11 percent of Jordan's population).

Authorities have confronted these challenges by focusing on structural reforms with the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Fiscal reforms focused on tax compliance are bearing fruit, the S&P believe, while plans to address troubled state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are rolling out. At the same time, efforts to rejuvenate investment and improve the ease of doing business are underway, bringing with them the prospect of sustainably increasing economic activity.

GDP growth
S&P expect GDP growth to rise gradually, averaging 3 percent in 2023-2026. Last year, real GDP growth started to outpace population growth, following over a decade of consistently shrinking per capita incomes. However, social spending demands and infrastructure needs will continue to weigh on the government's budget.

Inflation has largely been contained. Prices increased by an average of 2.7 percent in the first seven months of 2023, compared with average annual inflation of just 4.2 percent in 2022. Price pressure has been kept in check due to the peg with the U.S. dollar (which has contained imported inflation). Rate hikes from the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ), which closely mirrors the U.S. Fed's monetary policy, have also helped.

Additionally, preemptive stockpiling of key food staples and long-term and price-sticky gas import contracts have kept household food and energy bills relatively stable. Combined, these policies have muted some of the impacts from last year's commodity price shocks, which under other scenarios could have affected social cohesion.

The debt-to-GDP ratio is shrinking, and further progress will partly be tied to the authorities' ability to reduce losses at SOEs. Strong domestic revenue performance has been underpinned by successful efforts to tackle tax evasion and strengthen tax compliance, while a rising interest`

Future ratings
S&P could raise the ratings if Jordan's economic growth accelerated to a sustainably higher level, leading to an increase in jobs in the private sector and in GDP per capita. At the same time, a higher rating is also likely to hinge on whether the government is able to reduce the government’s net debt-to-GDP ratio, which would likely need to stem from further improvements in public sector fiscal consolidation.

They would lower the ratings if reform momentum stalled, undoing fiscal consolidation efforts, for instance due to rising domestic spending pressures. A negative action could also materialize if the currently strong bilateral and multilateral donor support unexpectedly diminished, provoking external financing pressures.

Read more Business
Jordan News