Home » Chile at a Crossroads: Potential Credit Downgrade Ahead
Chile Economy Global News News South America

Chile at a Crossroads: Potential Credit Downgrade Ahead

Chile’s economic outlook for 2024 is complex yet hopeful due to the conclusion of its constitutional process and anticipated interest rate reductions.

Yet, analysts predict a downside. A survey by Bloomberg News points to a potential downgrade in Chile’s credit rating.

The main reason is the rising public debt compared to the GDP.

Andrés Pérez, a top economist at Banco Itaú, foresees continued pressure on Chile’s sovereign risk rating.

He suggests that agencies like Fitch might first adjust outlooks before lowering ratings. This indicates a gradual shift, not an immediate plunge.

In recent times, Chilean bonds have excelled. Their performance outshines many A-rated countries, based on Bloomberg data.

But, a credit downgrade could reverse this success. This shows how closely bond performance ties to credit ratings.

Chile at a Crossroads: Potential Credit Downgrade Ahead. (Photo Internet reproduction)
Chile at a Crossroads: Potential Credit Downgrade Ahead. (Photo Internet reproduction)

Ratings impact global investor confidence

Currently, Chile holds stable credit outlooks from Fitch and Moody’s. However, S&P views it negatively.

These ratings impact global investor confidence. A downgrade could widen the gap or spread in sovereign bond rates.

Chile’s debt has been climbing. It reached 37.2% of GDP this year, doubling in a decade. The government’s 2024 budget aims to lower the fiscal deficit.

Yet, many doubt these goals. Perez highlights the need for tight spending control to stabilize debt below 45% of GDP.

The government believes debt and deficit will stabilize by 2025. It predicts a debt-to-GDP ratio of 41%.

Hermann González, an economics expert, thinks these targets are too optimistic. He bases this on growth estimates that exceed market expectations.

Chile’s economy grew slightly in the third quarter of 2020. But the recovery remains unstable, as indicated by a recent contraction.

This adds to the challenges in meeting fiscal targets. Political uncertainty also impacts the economy. A vote on constitutional changes is due.

The outcome could influence government policies, like pension reform. Pérez from Itaú notes the difficulty in reaching a consensus on such reforms.

This can affect Chile’s risk rating. Finance Minister Mario Marcel recognizes these challenges.

He remains hopeful about reaching agreements on key reforms. His optimism suggests potential for overcoming economic and political hurdles in Chile.

Source: The Rio Times