On Saturday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zdravko Marić, expressed satisfaction with the latest assessment of Croatia's credit rating published by Fitch Ratings, emphasizing that joining the Eurozone will mean further improvement and enhancement of that rating.
On Friday, Fitch reaffirmed Croatia's investment rating of "BBB" and a positive outlook, estimating that the recovery in tourism will support the economy in a period of declining exports, and joining the Eurozone will mitigate financing risks.
Last November, Fitch raised its rating by one level, from ‘BBB-’ to ‘BBB’, with a positive outlook, and ‘BBB’ is thus the highest rating since the agencies began assessing Croatia’s creditworthiness.
Maric said that citizens, the economy and the government can be satisfied because the credit rating has been preserved, and that the certain entry into the Eurozone will mean further improvement and improvement of Croatia's credit rating.
"All in all, a really positive assessment, a very welcome report in these circumstances, which certainly gives us a positive incentive to continue everything we do," said Maric.
Fitch lowered Croatia's economic growth forecast for this year from 4.4 percent to 3.3 percent, citing a high benchmark in 2021, the year of recovery from the pandemic crisis, and a sharp slowdown in household spending due to high inflation due to the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Maric said that this was understandable, considering that the Government published a revised, lower forecast of GDP growth of three percent this year about ten days ago.
He also said that in the fiscal part, Fitch's report is in line with the efforts, achievements and projections of the Croatian Government. He emphasized the deficit, which was reduced much more than expected last year, and that this trend will continue this year and next.
When it comes to negative risks for future rating movements, Fitch cites a change in the path of public debt, in terms of its increase, or a situation in which there would be a significant delay in Croatia's entry into the Eurozone.
“I deeply believe that no factor will happen. I am sure, in fact, "Maric said.
Croatia's public debt as a share of GDP fell to 79.8 percent last year thanks to an improved fiscal position and strong economic growth. It should drop to 75.5 percent this year, and to 72.6 percent in 2023, Fitch predicts.