Serrari Group

In a recent statement, Maxim Rybnikov of S&P Global Ratings raised concerns about Israel’s sovereign credit rating amidst the ongoing conflict with Hamas. Rybnikov warned that if the conflict expands beyond Gaza, it could prompt a downgrade in Israel’s credit rating.

The decision to shift Israel’s outlook to “negative” from “stable” in October reflects apprehensions about the conflict’s potential to escalate, particularly with regards to engagements with Hezbollah in Lebanon or Iran. This adjustment underscores the economic and security implications of a broader conflict for Israel.

Rybnikov stressed the importance of mitigating risks to Israel’s economy and public finances, especially if the conflict significantly impacts economic growth, fiscal stability, and balance of payments. Projections indicate modest economic growth coupled with substantial budget deficits for the years 2023-2024, highlighting the need for prudent fiscal management amid heightened tensions.

The approval of the 2024 state budget, including significant allocations for defense spending, has sparked debates among policymakers and critics. While some advocate for measures to offset war-related expenditures, others stress maintaining fiscal discipline to safeguard long-term economic stability.

Despite the challenges posed by the conflict, Rybnikov remains cautiously optimistic about the potential for stability restoration. However, uncertainties persist regarding defense spending, foreign direct investment flows, and investor sentiment, requiring careful monitoring and strategic fiscal planning.

Moody’s, another credit ratings agency, refrained from commenting directly but previously placed Israel’s ratings under review due to the ongoing conflict. As Israel navigates these complexities, maintaining fiscal prudence and addressing regional security concerns will be crucial for its economic resilience and creditworthiness.
By: Montel Kamau
Serrari Financial Analyst
28th January, 2023

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