Fitch affirms Lithuania’s ratings at A-

The issue ratings on Lithuania’s senior unsecured foreign and local currency bonds have also been affirmed at A-. The country ceiling has been affirmed at AAA and the short-term foreign currency IDR at F1.

The affirmation and stable outlook reflect the following factors: upcoming membership into the eurozone will further enhance Lithuania’s already effective policy-making and governance. Adoption of the single currency will reduce credit risks associated with foreign currency exposures on the sovereign’s balance sheet and in the banking system, as well the country’s still high level of net external debt.

The euro’s reserve currency status will also enhance the sovereign’s fiscal and external financing flexibility, while Lithuanian banks will gain access to European Central Bank liquidity facilities, Fitch said.

Lithuania will remain one of the fastest growing countries in the EU.

The latest forecast by Fitch predicts that Lithuania’s GDP will grow 3 percent in 2014, followed by growth of 3.5 percent in 2015-2016. However, Lithuania’s small and open economy does leave it vulnerable to external shocks.

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