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12/20/04

Iran's credit rating moves ahead of Turkey's

London, Dec 20, IRNA -- Iran's new credit rating is expected to allow the country to sell cheaper debt in the international capital markets following last week's upgrading by Fitch global agency.

Fitch announced on December 14 that it had upgraded Iran's long- term foreign and local currency rating to BB- from B+, but the country's short-term rating was retained at B.

The new rating puts Iran on par with Brazil and Venezuela and immediately above Turkey and Indonesia but still just below Peru and Azerbaijan.

The upgrade follows international credited agencies, including Fitch, being criticized for discriminating against Iran on "political grounds" at an economic conference in London last month.

Announcing its decision to improve Iran's rating, Fitch said it was made on the basis of higher foreign currency earnings from oil, a better legislative environment for economic liberalization and the diminished possibility of sanctions over the country's nuclear program.

Middle East Economic Digest said that high oil income would still make sovereign borrowing unlikely, but believed it would help corporate issues such as Iran Khodro's plans to issue more than dlr 300 million worth of bonds early next year.

The new rating puts Iran just behind the top sub-investment grade of BB+ given to Russia and Egypt. Above that is the investment grade of BBB-, assigned to Kazakhstan and Mexico, progressing to A-, A+, AA- and AAA, the top rating.

... Payvand News - 12/20/04 ... --



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