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New Zealand welcomes economic vote of confidence by ratings agency

WELLINGTON, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government's economic and fiscal management has received another vote of confidence on Thursday from ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P), said Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

S&P revised its outlook on New Zealand's AA foreign and AA+ local currency credit ratings up to "positive" from "stable." This is the strongest stance S&P has held on New Zealand since September 2011. It comes after Moody's recently reaffirmed its AAA rating, Robertson said.

The S&P report said the government's "proactive policy-making supports sustainable public finances and economic growth."

The ratings agency compared New Zealand's fiscal position and economic outlook against other economies with similar credit ratings, saying that New Zealand's per capita GDP growth "continues to outpace similarly rated peers."

The report continues to note that New Zealand's external balances are a risk, mostly due to private sector debt held offshore.

However, it also notes that housing-related imbalances facing the country's financial system have stabilized recently, and may continue to stabilize as a result of government policy, according to Robertson.


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