Standard & Poor’s Raises New Zealand’s Credit Rating to “AA+”
The credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s announced on Monday (22nd) that it has upgraded New Zealand’s credit rating from “AA” to “AA+”, due to the local government’s performance in containing the COVID-19 pandemic in comparison to other countries, while the current stimulus policy will negate potential risks brought by negative economic shocks, including the possible downturn in the property market. In addition, Standard & Poor’s also predicts that New Zealand’s financial situation will be restored in the next few years. It also expects the New Zealand economy to grow at average annual rate of 3.2%. Standard & Poor’s expressed optimism about New Zealand’s economic prospects, increasing the market’s hope that the New Zealand central bank will soon end the interest rate cut cycle.
UK to Gradually Relax the Social Distancing Measures in Four Stages
British Prime Minister Johnson announced that as the pandemic is showing signs of easing, the government will gradually relax social distancing measures in England in four stages beginning next month. In the first stage, all schools will be reopened from the 8th of next month, while outdoor gatherings of up to 6 people from two families will be allowed after the 29th. In the second stage, non-essential retail stores, barber shops, and public facilities such as libraries and museums will be reopened from April 12. In the third stage, starting from May 17, the maximum number of outdoor gatherings will be relaxed from 6 to 30, depending on the pandemic. In the fourth stage, all restrictions on social contact are expected to be lifted from June 21. The British Minister of Vaccines Zahavi also said that there is evidence that vaccines can prevent the spread of the virus, so it is believed that no new lockdown measures will be required in the future.