Germany keeps top credit rating
15 December 2003
FRANKFURT – Germany, despite being under fire in the European Union for failing to meet strict budget rules for euro member states, has kept its top triple-A credit rating at ratings agency Standard & Poors, a spokeswoman confirmed Monday.
An S&P spokeswoman confirmed a report in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Germany’s creditworthiness remains in the agency’s top category despite Germany, together with France, failing to meet Europe’s deficit-to-GDP ratio limit of 3 percent.
“Although the public finances of both countries are weak at the moment, we continue to beleive that the medium-term effects of their debt burden are compatible with the AAA ratings,” the spokeswoman said.
Apart from the triple-A rating at S&P, Germany also enjoys the highest rating “Aaa” issued by Moody’s, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted in a report saying that the EU controversy over the stability pact had not damaged Germany’s creditworthiness reputation.
It cited Moody’s analyst Alexander Kockerbeck as saying that from the current standpoint, Germany’s top credit rating was “assured” for the next three to five years.
He said German fiscal policy was seen as having enough options to be able to stabilise its new public debts over the medium-term.
Subject: German news
German municipal debt surges
WIESSBADEN – German municipal debt surged 38 percent in the first nine months of 2003 compared with a year earlier, according to official data reported Monday.
The Federal Statistics Office said city and communal debts reached EUR8.7 billion, a rise of EUR 2.4 billion from the first nine months of 2002.
The office said cities and communities spent EUR 106.8 billion, up 0.7 percent from the first nine months last year. But at the same time, revenues dropped 1.6 percent to EUR 98.2 billion. .
The figures showed that on the expenditures side, municipalities spent EUR 22.6 billion for social welfare assistance in the first nine months, 7.7 percent higher than in the corresponding 2002 period. Personnel costs rose 2.9 percent to EUR 29.3 billion.
The decline in revenues was chiefly the result of lower transfers paid by the federal states to cities and communities. At EUR 16.6 billion euros, the figure was down by 9.9 percent, the office data showed.
Subject: German news