Transparent Reporting on Government's Progress
Target: Improvement in ratings
On October 4, 2019, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) revised its outlook for Manitoba to Positive from Stable, citing the better-than-expected financial results in 2018/19. Two other credit rating agencies, DBRS Limited and Moody’s Canada Inc., have reaffirmed Manitoba’s credit rating in 2019.
In Canada, credit rating organizations are designated under Canadian securities legislation (Designated Rating Organizations) and include DBRS, S&P (Canada), Moody’s, and Fitch, Inc. The Province of Manitoba is rated by Moody’s, DBRS and S&P.
The ratings of Manitoba’s and other provincial and federal credit worthiness are evaluated each year (sometimes more frequently) by the credit rating agencies.
Prior to the change in the outlook to positive by S&P in October 2019, from July 2015 to July 2017, Manitoba had three downgrades from two credit rating agencies. In July 2015, Moody’s downgraded Manitoba’s credit rating from Aa1 to Aa2, with a stable outlook. In July 2016, S&P downgraded Manitoba’s rating from AA to AA- (negative) and in July 2017 from AA- (negative) to A+ (stable). These downgrades were the first since 1988.
Credit ratings represent a credit score on creditworthiness. Ratings influence borrowing through interest paid on debt and access to credit. Credit rating downgrades and rising interest rates increase debt-servicing costs and reduce fiscal resources available for government services. These additional costs are ultimately borne by Manitoba taxpayers.
Manitoba will continue on its course of responsible fiscal management and the province is on track to balance the budget two years early, in 2022/23. The rating agencies evaluate Manitoba’s creditworthiness through these and other actions.
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