Weak commodity prices and higher government capital spending have prompted Standard and Poor’s to downgrade Saskatchewan’s credit rating.
The agency said it has lowered the rating to double-A from double-A plus.
Standard and Poor’s said the downgrade reflects Saskatchewan’s weakened budget performance and growing debt thanks to low oil, natural gas and potash prices.
The agency said despite some tax reforms and cuts in the government’s recent budget, the province’s position is now weaker than it was last year.
It also cites higher spending plans under the Saskatchewan Builds Capital Program.
On the upside, Standard and Poor’s said the outlook for the province is stable and forecasts the economy will record modest growth in the next two years.
“Weaker commodity prices and elevated capital spending are negatively affecting the Province of Saskatchewan’s budgetary performance and debt burden,” the agency said Wednesday.
“S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term issuer credit and senior unsecured debts ratings on the province … to ‘AA’ from ‘AA+”.
At the same time the agency affirmed its ‘A-1+’ global scale and ‘A-1 (High)’ Canada scale short-term debt ratings on the province.
This is the second time the agency has cut Saskatchewan’s credit rating over the past 12 months.
Last June, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the province’s credit rating from triple-A to double-A plus due to low resource prices.
Credit ratings can affect how much a government pays to borrow money.