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Monday, March 25 2019 @ 07:26 AM UTC

Fitch: Presidential Election Result Neutral for Panama's Ratings

PoliticsNEW YORK, May 04, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Fitch Ratings says Panama's recent Presidential election result will not immediately affect ratings for the country. According to Panama's Electoral Tribunal, conservative candidate Ricardo Martinelli of the opposition Alliance for Change has won the presidential election. With 63% of the votes counted, Marinelli had 61% of the votes against 37% for the ruling party candidate Balbina Herrera. 'Although Panama's key credit metrics have strengthened in recent years, Martinelli will enter office during a challenging period for Panama,' said Theresa Paiz Fredel, Senior Director in Fitch's Sovereign Ratings group. According to Fitch, the new president will have to guide Panama through the international financial crisis, which Fitch expects to result in the country's worst cyclical downturn since 2001/2002. Additionally, the US$5.3 billion expansion of the Canal to increase its capacity and accommodate larger ships will also be a key priority. Continued growth momentum and resilience of Panama's macroeconomic policy framework in the context of the current global economic and financial crisis could be positive for creditworthiness. Given the small size of Panama's economy, its vulnerability to external shocks and rigidity in public finances, a sustained reduction in the government's debt burden could also benefit creditworthiness. Fitch's rating definitions and the terms of use of such ratings are available on the agency's public site, Published ratings, criteria and methodologies are available from this site, at all times. Fitch's code of conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, affiliate firewall, compliance and other relevant policies and procedures are also available from the 'Code of Conduct' section of this site. SOURCE: Fitch Ratings
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