Minister Donohoe & NTMA welcome S&P upgrade of Ireland’s Sovereign Credit Rating

30th November, 2019

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) welcomes today’s upgrade of Ireland’s long-term sovereign credit rating by Standard & Poor’s to AA- (from A+) with a stable outlook.

This is Ireland’s first long-term rating upgrade from S&P since June 2015 and returns Ireland to the AA rating category (which comprises AA+, AA and AA-) for the first time since entering the Troika programme in late 2010.

Re-entering the AA category puts Ireland closer to core Eurozone issuers including France (AA), Belgium (AA) and Austria (AA+).  Other issuers in the AA category include the United States (AA+) and the United Kingdom (AA).

S&P also upgraded Ireland’s short-term rating from A-1 to A-1+, which is S&P’s highest short-term rating.

NTMA Chief Executive Conor O’Kelly said:

“Today’s upgrade continues the upward trend in Ireland’s sovereign ratings that has been evident for some time.

In making its decision, S&P referenced Ireland’s strong fiscal outcomes and vigorous economic growth. In addition S&P noted the very long dated average maturity of Ireland’s debt (10 years) post the smoothening and lengthening strategy of recent years.

Our new AA- rating will increase the pool of potential buyers of Irish Government bonds, which will be positive for demand and further enhance our ability to diversify our investor base.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, said:

This upgrade reflects the next stage in the journey we, in Ireland, have been on for the last decade or so.  Last year we ran a budgetary surplus for the first time since 2007 and a further improvement is in the pipeline for this year.  The policies being implemented by the Government are paying dividends and our objective is to create a virtuous circle in which prudent management of the public finances reduces debt service costs.” 

Additional Information

  • The AA- rating is S&P’s fourth-highest long-term rating (after AAA, AA+ and AA).
  • A ratings upgrade typically increases the potential pool of investors for a debt instrument as some investors have a policy of excluding instruments below a given rating from their portfolios.

S&P’s long-term ratings actions towards Ireland

November 2019: Upgrade to AA- from A+

June 2015: Upgrade to A+ from A

December 2014: Upgrade to A from A-

June 2014: Upgrade to A- from BBB+

April 2011: Downgrade to BBB+ from A-

February 2011: Downgrade to A- from A

November 2010: Downgrade to A from AA-