Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Wednesday said it cut Saudi Arabia's long-term sovereign credit rating to A-minus from A-plus to reflect the "marked and lasting" impact of the rout in oil prices. The ratings firm said it has cut its assumptions about oil prices for 2016 to 2019 by about $20 a barrel, with Brent expected to average $40 a barrel in 2016 and gradually rising to $50 a barrel by 2018. S&P said the government's debt burden could exceed 7% of gross domestic product between 2016 and 2019. The ratings firm said its outlook for the country's rating is stable, reflecting expectations that Saudi authorities "will take steps to prevent any further deterioration in the government's fiscal position beyond our current expectations."
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