Fitch, one of the world's leading credit rating agencies, announced last week that it keeps Israel's foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at "A" and local currency IDR at "A+".
The outlook on both ratings was classified as stable.
"The Outlooks on the Long-term IDRs are Stable. Fitch has simultaneously affirmed Israel's Short-term IDR at 'F1' and Country Ceiling at 'AA-'" the statement added, citing Israel's strong institutions and solid recent macroeconomic performance, rich, diversified economy and strong external balance sheet against a high level of government debt and longstanding geopolitical concerns.
"Fitch expects the gross public debt/GDP ratio will continue to fall slightly during 2013 and 2014, although at 72.3% of GDP at end-2012 it is around double the median for the 'A' category. Revenue weakness pulled the central government deficit to 4.2% of GDP in 2012 from 3.3% of GDP in 2011 and the general government deficit to 5.2%."
Fitch analysts noted that "Although the economy weakened over 2012," the analysts wrote, "the start of gas production is expected to lift real GDP growth to 3.7% in 2013 from 3.2% last year."
The economists praised the strength of the Israeli economy as well as the resilience and stability of its banks and financial institutions. In addition, the economists praised Finance Minister Yair Lapid and specifically Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer for their courageous decision not to dramatically increase the target deficit for 2014.