Fitch has confirmed British Columbia’s AAA credit rating with a stable outlook, due to the Province’s steady economic growth, commitment to fiscal balance and manageable debt burden, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced today.
Fitch says: “British Columbia's 'AAA' rating primarily reflects conservative financial management practices resulting in stable fiscal performance and a well-managed liability profile. Provincial economic performance has been generally positive since the recession, and is likely to exceed national performance in the near to medium term.”
Fitch writes: “British Columbia's diverse economy continues its pace of steady economic growth, ahead of the Canadian average. Employment growth accelerated in 2016 and the provincial government is forecasting modest GDP growth, albeit below prerecession growth rates. Prudently, the government's budget includes expense contingencies and forecast allowances around cautious economic forecasts to ensure the provincial budget remains balanced.”
The rating agency continues: “The province's debt burden remains manageable with continued pay-down of operating debt. The province anticipates slightly accelerating its pace of debt issued for capital projects, but retains sufficient capacity at the current rating level. The government projects the taxpayer-supported debt-to-GDP ratio declined in fiscal 2017, but will essentially stabilize through the three-year fiscal plan.”
British Columbia has been rated AAA with Fitch since December 2007.
Since November 2004, the Province has received seven credit rating upgrades and is now the only province rated triple-A by each of the international rating agencies: Moody’s, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch. Moody’s recently affirmed B.C.’s Aaa credit rating and stable outlook in January 2017. The Dominion Bond Rating Service affirmed B.C.’s AA (high) credit rating in March 2017, and Standard and Poor’s affirmed the Province’s AAA rating in March as well.
Finance Minister Michael de Jong –
“Prudent financial planning is a cornerstone of B.C.’s strong economic position. B.C. is not only a leader in economic growth in Canada, but we also have the lowest unemployment rate, meaning more British Columbians are benefiting and involved in the province’s future. We are committed to maximizing every dollar hard-working taxpayers contribute to the Province, so we can invest in priority programs and cut costs for middle-class families.”
Full Fitch Ratings report: https://www.fitchratings.com/site/pr/1021799
Ministry of Finance