Moody's puts Mexico on 'negative' outlook, could face credit downgrade

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Moody's credit rating agency has changed the outlook for Mexico's debt rating to negative from stable, citing low oil prices and slow economic growth.

But the agency maintained Mexico's A3 rating on senior debt, indicating very low risk.

The agency said it was worried about the possible effect on government budgets of bailing out the country's troubled state oil company, Pemex.

"A combination of the oil price shock and the slower than expected growth have undermined the economic outlook," Moody's said in a statement.

The Moody's statement went on to say Thursday that the Mexican government was committed to fiscal restraint, but it was unclear whether it could achieve that in the current environment.

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It noted that Mexico federal government debt rose to 34.4 percent of GDP in 2015 from 27.9 percent in 2011. But that could rise to over 40 percent of GDP if Pemex is forced to turn to the government for financing.

"Financial challengeges at PEMEX from lower oil prices have increased the likelihood that government liquidity support will be needed," Moody's said.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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