Standard & Poor’s has revised Saudi Arabia’s long-term sovereign credit ratings outlook to positive from stable whilst affirming the long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings at ‘AA-/A-1+’. S&P says the outlook revision reflects its view that Saudi Arabia could be upgraded during the next 24 months if economic growth remains strong, adding that continued growth would help to reduce the country’s social challenges, including unemployment, and enhance productivity and competitiveness.

Improved growth prospects for the non-oil economy will bolster Riyadh’s “resilience to exogenous shocks such as a decline in oil prices,” the agency adds. It further notes that ratings are supported by Saudi Arabia’s very strong external and fiscal positions and that “by managing high oil revenues prudently, the government has virtually eliminated its general government debt, generating additional fiscal space for countercyclical policies.” Under the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency’s management of foreign currency, assets exceeded 90% of 2012 Saudi GDP at end-March 2013. (CONTINUED - 618 WORDS)