NICOSIA, Cyprus — Standard & Poor's has raised Cyprus' credit grade by a notch to BBB-, lifting the country back into investment grade after near-bankruptcy five years ago.
The international rating agency pointed Friday to Cyprus government efforts that have slashed the banking sector's bad loans from around half of all loans to one-third.
It cited moves to carve out bad loans from state-owned Cyprus Co-Operative Bank that were subsequently sold to Cyprus-based Hellenic Bank, the sale of bad assets by top lender Bank of Cyprus and new legislation helping banks to further reduce such loans.
The agency said strong growth of around 3 percent of gross domestic product over the next three years will help drive down public debt. But it added that high public and private indebtedness remain a ratings constraint.