B.C. maintains AAA credit rating with S&P, despite change in government

The province has held on to its AAA credit rating despite a recent change in government, according to Standard & Poor's | BIV files

British Columbia has maintained its AAA credit rating with Standard & Poor's (S&P), citing the province’s “strong and increasing economy,” liquidity and favourable financial management practices.

The credit rating agency said it is maintaining the rating “despite the recent change in government,” referring to this year’s election in which the New Democratic Party formed a minority coalition with the Green Party after 16 years of Liberal governments in B.C.

“The NDP government released a midyear budget update in the fall and has publicly stated that it will continue to use prudence in its fiscal plan, maintaining a balanced budget and debt affordability within a sustainable fiscal framework,” S&P said in a November 15 report. “In the past, the province has demonstrated what we view as good political and managerial strength.

“We will continue to monitor the government’s ability and willingness to make politically difficult decisions if required.”

The province’s diversified economy, proximity to Asian markets and livability contribute to a stable outlook. S&P said B.C.’s per-capital GDP has been more than US$42,800 over the past three years and this is expected to rise, with strong prospects for the resources, real estate, construction and public sectors.

ecrawford@biv.com