DUBLIN, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Ireland on Saturday welcomed the announcement by Moody's Investors Service to upgrade the country's credit rating to Baa3 and to change the outlook to positive.
"The decision by Moody's to upgrade Ireland's credit rating reflects the significant progress that has been made in stabilizing the public finances, restructuring the banking sector and, most importantly, growing the economy and creating jobs," Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan said in a statement.
"Ireland is now rated at investment grade by all of the major credit rating agencies, highlighting the major improvement in investor sentiment towards Ireland.
"The change in the outlook accompanying Ireland's rating from stable to positive reflects Moody's expectation of a sustained recovery in the Irish economy and improved debt dynamics," he said.
Ireland successfully exited the EU/IMF bailout program on Dec. 15 and raised 3.75 billion euros (507 billion U.S. dollars) on the financial markets last week at competitive rates.
In their decision on Saturday, Moody's cited the exit from the program on schedule, with improved solvency and restored market access, as a key driver of the upgrade.
"Saturday's upgrade will have benefits for the economy as a whole by putting downward pressure on the price of credit for companies and organizations in Ireland who are reliant on the financial markets for funding," the Irish minister said.