Standard and Poor’s (S&P) praises British Columbia in report on Province’s AAA rating

Carole James

STANDARD and Poor’s (S&P) has confirmed B.C.’s ‘AAA’ long-term credit rating reflecting the Province’s superior financial management practices, strong economy, and robust liquidity, Finance Minister Carole James announced on Thursday.

“The Standard and Poor’s report confirms that our path forward is a fiscally prudent one,” James said. “Our government will continue to take action to make life more affordable, improve the services that British Columbians count on, and ensure strong economic growth that benefits the entire province.”

In their report, S&P states: “Chief among the province’s credit strengths is its robust and diversified economy. Large resource endowments, high-ranking livability, and close proximity to Asian markets underpin its affluent tax base. B.C.’s nominal GDP per capita is estimated to be greater than US$42,800 (based on a three-year average).”

S&P also notes: “We expect that B.C.’s overall budgetary performance will remain stronger than that of most of its domestic peers […] We believe that the province’s near-term economic prospects are healthier than those of most other Canadian provinces because of B.C.’s relatively diversified economic base, which provides revenue diversification and resiliency. Importantly, while the uncertainty regarding U.S. fiscal and trade policy remains a meaningful risk for Canadian provinces, B.C.’s exposure is mitigated by its relatively more diversified mix of trade partners, particularly, in Asia.”

S&P adds: “We believe that the province has well-defined financial policies and a well-documented financial plan that provides visibility. We also believe that management of debt and liquidity is prudent. We also find B.C.’s financial disclosures transparent, comprehensive, and timely.”

British Columbia has been rated AAA with Standard and Poor’s since May 2007, when the Province was upgraded from AA+.

B.C. is the only province rated triple-A with all three international credit rating agencies: Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch.