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Credit rating agency DBRS downgrades Alberta rating a notch on rising debts

CALGARY – Credit rating agency DBRS has downgraded Alberta’s credit rating a notch to double-A, a day after the province released a deficit-laden budget.

DBRS says the NDP government’s reluctance to rein in spending or increase taxation would push debt levels higher than a triple-A rating could justify.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci described the downgrade was a “disappointment” but said the province is still financially stable and responsibly managing its debt.

In its credit update DBRS did improve the province’s outlook to stable from the negative reading in January, thanks to higher oil prices and slower than expected growth in debt.

Moody’s, in its response to the budget, maintained its triple-A rating for the province, but said rising debt levels and weakened fiscal circumstances will exert growing pressure on the rating.

In December, Standard and Poor’s downgraded Alberta’s rating to double-A-plus from triple-A.