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MOSCOW, April 30. /TASS/. Fitch Ratings downgraded Kazakhstan's Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'BBB' from 'BBB+' and local currency IDR to 'BBB' from 'A-', the rating agency said in a press release.
"Off-balance sheet spending, in response to low oil prices, has resulted in Fitch's broader measure of the budget deficit widening sharply to 5% of GDP in 2015, compared with a surplus of 3.5% over the previous five years. Government debt jumped to 22.1% of GDP in 2015 from 13.9% in 2014, due to increased external borrowing as well as the sharp depreciation of the tenge," Fitch said.
Inflation reached its highest level (15.7% in March) in nearly seven years, the agency said. "While Fitch expects inflation to moderate to 10% by end-2016, as the exchange rate pass-through fades, inflation is forecast to remain well above the 'BBB' median of 3.3% over the forecast horizon," the report said.
The country’s budget deficit is expected to narrow to 2% of GDP in 2016, Fitch said. Its analysts also project the economy to contract by 1% in 2016.