Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has lowered its status for the Netherlands from AAA to AA+ with a ‘stable’ outlook. The agency said in February its outlook for the Netherlands was negative.
The most important reason for the downgrade is the weak economy and poor prospects. Economic growth is lower than S&P had expected. Gross domestic production is also lower than that of comparable countries.
‘Although the Dutch economy has seen strong growth in exports recently, this has been offset by weak domestic demand,’ the agency said in its statement. ‘We see a number of reasons for this weak demand, including fiscal consolidation, high household debt, falling asset prices and highly leveraged banks.’
The agency also points to the 2014 budget and additional €6bn package of measures, pointing out that these proposals need support from the opposition in the senate. ‘However, future opposition support is not a foregone conclusion,’ the agency states.
Standard & Poor’s is one of the most influential credit rating agencies in the world. The Netherlands still has triple A status with Fitch and Moody’s. A change in the credit rating can make it more expensive for the Netherlands to borrow money.
Economists said the effect of the downgrade is likely to be marginal and the Netherlands is still one of the best-rated European countries. Only Germany and Luxemburg score higher.
Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said he was ‘disappointed’. Nevertheless, ‘the Netherlands remains one of the most credit-worthy countries in the world,’ the minister told Nos television.
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