Fitch: Egypt, Tunisia Ratings may be at “Low Point”

Improvements in the political outlook suggest post-Arab Spring countries Egypt and Tunisia may be at the bottom of their ratings cycle, a Fitch ratings analyst told Reuters on Thursday.

Political instability in both countries in the three years since the Arab Spring uprisings has led to ratings downgrades.

Fitch cut Tunisia’s rating to BB- with negative outlook last year, but upgraded Egypt’s outlook to stable on its B-minus rating in January.

“There have been some positive developments on the political side – maybe we are at the low point for the ratings on these countries,” Paul Gamble, director in the sovereign ratings group at Fitch, told a briefing.

Egypt is due for a ratings review on June 27 and Tunisia on Oct 24, according to Fitch’s annual ratings’ calendar.

Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won 97 percent in Egypt’s presidential vote last week, though turnout was only about 47 percent.

Tunisia has a new constitution and aims to hold elections this year.

Fitch sees growth at 3.2 percent for Egypt this year and 3.5 percent for Tunisia.

“Things are improving, but from a very low base,” Gamble said.