First in 21 years: Jordan’s credit rating upgraded to Ba3

Economy

Published: 2024-05-09 17:21

Last Updated: 2024-06-18 11:58


Several denominations of the Jordanian Dinar. (Photo: Vecteezy)
Several denominations of the Jordanian Dinar. (Photo: Vecteezy)

Moody's credit rating agency raised Jordan's long-term sovereign credit rating in local and foreign currency from B1 to Ba3 with a stable outlook – marking the first raise for Jordan’s credit rating in 21 years; demonstrating resilience amid regional and global challenges.

The agency attributed the rating upgrade to the success and effectiveness of public financial management, macroeconomic policies, and risk mitigation measures, which have strengthened Jordan's resilience against “external shocks.”

The proactive policies of Jordan, particularly in response to challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, global energy and food price hikes, and the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, have bolstered the country's resilience amid ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

Finance Minister Dr. Mohammad Al Ississ stated, “This achievement is a well-deserved recognition of the deep structural reforms implemented by the Jordanian government to shield the middle class from global and regional shocks. It also reflects international acknowledgment of the wise agenda of deep reforms initiated by His Majesty the King, which enhanced Jordan's resilience and boosted growth rates."

According to Moody's, this rating upgrade is supported by Jordan's strong fiscal and monetary policies, international support, and local financing capacity. The agency praised Jordan's commitment to broad structural reforms, which have improved the business environment, notably with the enactment of a new investment law streamlining approval processes and providing investors with seven years of legislative stability, coinciding with the establishment of the Ministry of Investment.

Regarding public finances, Moody's emphasized the "stability" of public finance indicators in the coming years, projecting the government's budget deficit to range between 1.5 percent to 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during 2024-2025, compared to 2.1 percent in 2023 and 2 percent in 2022.

Moreover, the government debt (including central government, municipalities, and the Collateralized Debt Obligation of the National Electric Power Company and Water Authority, excluding the net debt of the Social Security Investment Fund) is on a downward trajectory, expected to reach 80 percent of GDP by 2028 from around 90 percent in 2023.

Dr. Adel Sharkas, Governor of the Central Bank of Jordan, emphasized that Moody's upgrade during the region's current circumstances is a strong endorsement of the national economy's resilience and its ability to withstand shocks, reflecting the robust fundamentals of the economy and the success of economic policies pursued by the government and the central bank.

He affirmed that the monetary policy adopted by the central bank, aligned with global and regional central bank policies, has contributed to maintaining monetary and financial stability in the kingdom. This includes maintaining stable inflation rates, a fixed exchange rate for the Jordanian dinar against the US dollar, supported by an unprecedented level of foreign reserves totaling USD 19.0 billion, alongside a banking sector with a strong and stable financial infrastructure.

Sharkas highlighted that Jordan's elevated economic rating sends a strong and clear positive message to global financial markets and investors, confirming the safety of the economic approach focused on continuing the reform process and implementing initiatives outlined in Jordan's Economic Modernization Vision for 2023-2033.

This achievement aligns with the kingdom's success in completing the first review of the financial and economic reform program with the International Monetary Fund, further enhancing Jordan's position as an attractive and secure investment destination – according to Sharkas.