SA dodges credit downgrade

Ratings agency Standard & Poors has maintained South Australia’s double-A credit rating despite the state grappling with high unemployment.

The agency says the stable rating reflects the state’s strong financial management, very strong economy, strong liquidity and low liabilities.

“The stable outlook reflects our view that the state’s financial management will remain strong over the next two years, and its budgetary performance will strengthen with small operating surpluses and a smaller capital program,” Standard & Poors says.

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The vote of confidence in the SA economy comes as the state continues to have the highest jobless rate in the nation. It rose to 8.2 per cent in June before dipping slightly to 7.9 per cent last month.

The ratings news also comes as Adelaide firms as the likely construction site for the navy’s new fleet of submarines, but before Holden closes its local car assembly plants in 2016.

Standard & Poors said it expected economic growth in SA to rise to two per cent in 2016 and state debt to peak in 2017, when the new Royal Adelaide Hospitals comes on the government’s books. It said SA’s rating could even be raised in the future if it considered the state’s financial management was continuing to strengthen.

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