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Pakistan credit ratings could be lowered

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pakistan's sovereign credit ratings could be lowered if more violence and political turmoil follow the killing of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, ratings agency Standard and Poor's said Friday.

Bhutto, 54, a two-time former prime minister and head of Pakistan's most powerful political party, was shot in the neck by her attacker before he blew himself up at a political rally in Rawalpindi ahead of January 8 elections.
The assassination itself will not result in a rating action because the prevailing negative outlook on Pakistan ratings largely reflects risks to the political process, including attempts on the lives of political leaders after a number of such incidents, the US ratings agency said.

"However, a further weakening of Pakistan's institutions, in conjunction with rising levels of violence and disorder, and the postponement of the January 8 elections would lead to a rating downgrade," S and P said.

Anger over Bhutto's death left at least 10 people dead on Friday as grief-stricken supporters burned vehicles and buildings, blocked roads and screamed abuse at President Pervez Musharraf.

Sovereign credit ratings reflect S and P's opinions on the future ability and willingness of governments to service their commercial financial obligations.

The agency rated Pakistan foreign currency B+/Negative/B and local currency BB/Negative/B.

Posted by MOHAMED SAID at 11:34 AM  


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