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NZ returned to highest possible credit rating

21 October 2002 Media Statement

NZ returned to highest possible credit rating

Finance Minister Michael Cullen today welcomed the announcement by Moody’s Investors Service that New Zealand has been restored to the highest possible credit rating for foreign currency debt - Aaa.

The decision raises New Zealand two notches from Aa2 to Aaa, and returns us to the rating we held in 1983.

“This places New Zealand up with top world economies like the European Union and the United States and is a clear sign of international confidence in the current government’s fiscal and economic management,” said Dr Cullen.

The upgrade is not linked to any one particular event. Rather, it reflects Moody’s belief that, in the event of an external payments crisis, New Zealand is unlikely to impose a moratorium on debt repayment to ration scarce foreign currency assets - thereby forcing companies to default on their foreign debt payments.

Moody’s also cited New Zealand’s flexible foreign exchange regime as a factor in their decision.

Australia and Iceland received similar upgrades – Australia from Aa2 and Iceland from Aa3.

ENDS


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