Moody’s pushes Niger’s rating deeper into junk

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Global ratings agency Moody’s yesterday pushed Niger’s sovereign rating deeper into junk territory on the accumulation of unpaid debts.

Moody’s downgraded the long-term foreign and local currency ratings of the Government of Niger to Caa3 from Caa2.

Data from the West African regional debt management agency showed in November that Niger missed payments on interest and capital totaling 187.136 billion CFA francs.

Moody’s said that the continued accumulation of debt service payment arrears stemming from sanctions imposed by regional bodies after the military took over the West African nation could result in more significant losses for private sector creditors than previously anticipated.

Last month, the juntas of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso said they are immediately leaving the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a 50-year regional economic bloc that has been urging a return to democratic rule.

Moody’s said Niger’s withdrawal from ECOWAS has made it harder to predict when the sanctions might be lifted.

The agency, however, changed the West African country’s outlook to “stable” from “negative” on a likely boost in foreign exchange revenue throughout 2024.