COLOMBO, Dec 8 (AFP): Sri Lanka was awarded its first international credit rating Thursday, setting the stage for it to issue bonds and raise money to help rebuild its war-damaged and tsunami-hit economy.
Fitch Rating gave the tropical island nation a sovereign rating of BB-minus with a long-term stable outlook. BB-minus is considered a speculative investment grade.
The government had no immediate comment on the announcement which came hours before it was due to release a budget expected to be laden with subsidies.
Financial analysts said the government will want to use the rating to help raise around 500 million dollars through an international bond issue next year for reconstruction efforts.
Despite a long-running conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels in the northeast, "Sri Lanka has proved resilient to adverse shocks over a long period of time, its institutions are strong and it has an unblemished debt service record," Fitch Ratings International said.