September 14, 2017 / 8:34 AM / 6 days ago

Fitch flags improvement in sovereign ratings

LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The record cycle of sovereign rating downgrades looks to be over rating agency Fitch said on Thursday, predicting there would be as many upgrades as downgrades next year.

“It’s been a very negative picture but we now think that cycle is ending,” Fitch’s sovereign group Chief Operating Officer, Tony Stringer, said at a conference hosted by the firm.

He said it expected to make around 20 downgrades this year, after a record number of cuts last year. With the ratio between positive and negative outlooks on ratings, which signal the likelihood of an upgrade or downgrade, now almost 1:1, Stringer expected the amount of downgrades to continue to fall.

“We are expecting a much more equal split between sovereign upgrades and downgrades in 2018,” he added. (Reporting by Claire Milhench and Marc Jones)

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