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Uruguay to be next investment grade country from Moody’s rating

Uruguay is likely to be the next Latin American country to win an investment grade rating from Moody’s Investors Service, with a review likely late this year, a senior officer from the ratings agency said on Sunday.

Moody’s rates Uruguay’s long-term sovereign foreign currency credit at Ba1, one notch below investment grade, with a positive outlook. If upgraded, the country would join bigger peers such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru, which have won coveted investment grade ratings in recent years.

“The only country that is just below the line with a positive outlook is Uruguay,” Mauro Leos, Moody’s Latin American regional credit officer, said on the sidelines of Inter-American Development Bank meetings.

“It would seem to be that at the earliest we would be discussing Uruguay again late in the year,” he added.

Both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings have Uruguay at the similar rating level of BB-plus, but with stable outlooks.

Uruguay’s Economy Ministry has been working to reduce the country’s foreign currency debts and extend maturities, steps seen as crucial for an upgrade to investment grade status.

Other Moody’s ratings actions likely this year include a review of Brazil’s Baa2 rating, probably in the second half of the year, and a look at Peru, which has had a positive outlook on its Baa3 rating for almost a year.

Peru has a strong balance sheet and President Ollanta Humala, who has shed his hardline past and embraced private investment, has a strong mandate, Leos said.

“The positive outlook was assigned about a year ago so … by mid-year we may be taking another look at Peru to determine what to do,” he said.

Contact the Gateway to South America team to learn about the best investment opportunities in the region. The company is a benchmark for foreign investors wishing to invest in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile, providing expert advice on property acquisition and investment tours.

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