18 Jul 2009

Fitch downgrade warning seen as timely reminder to NZ

9:57 am on 18 July 2009

A possible downgrade in New Zealand's credit rating is seen by ANZ National Bank chief economist Cameron Bagrie as a timely reminder to move away from debt-fuelled consumption.

The international ratings agency, Fitch, says it may downgrade New Zeasland's current AA+ rating because of the large current account deficit, rising debt levels and poor household savings.

Mr Bagrie says Fitch is questioning the sustainability of New Zealand's fixation with borrowing to pay for things.

He says New Zealand needs to shift its orientation to one of more earnings and export growth.

Mr Bagrie says people need to have less reliance on the property market.

He also says New Zealand needs a lower currency to stimulate exports.