Standard & Poor's raises Ireland's outlook to stable

INEW YORK (REUTERS) - Rating agency Standard & Poor's on Monday raised Ireland's sovereign outlook to stable from negative. The agency currently rates Ireland BBB-plus.

The move "reflects our expectation that the exchange of promissory notes for longer-term government bonds significantly reduces the Irish government's debt-servicing costs and refinancing risk, and supports medium-term fiscal consolidation", S&P said in a statement.

"By improving the government's debt-maturity profile, the transaction also increases the prospects of Ireland leaving the EU/IMF bailout programme as planned at the end of 2013."

Moody's Investors Service rates the country Ba1 with a negative outlook, below investment grade. Fitch rates Ireland BBB-plus with a stable outlook.

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