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Fitch flags improvement in sovereign ratings

20 downgrades expected this year, but equal number of upgrades

The record cycle of sovereign rating downgrades looks to be over rating agency Fitch said today, predicting there would be as many upgrades as downgrades next year.

"It's been a very negative picture but we now think that cycle is ending," Fitch's sovereign group chief operating officer, Tony Stringer, said at a conference hosted by the firm.

He said it expected to make around 20 downgrades this year, after a record number of cuts last year. With the ratio between positive and negative outlooks on ratings, which signal the likelihood of an upgrade or downgrade, now almost 1:1, Stringer expected the amount of downgrades to continue to fall.

"We are expecting a much more equal split between sovereign upgrades and downgrades in 2018," he added.

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