Fitch Upgrades Ireland's Credit

Fitch Ratings on Friday upgraded Ireland's credit rating one notch to A-minus and the country ceiling to triple-A, the highest rating, citing the country's improved fiscal condition.

The outlook is stable.

Fitch said Ireland remains compliant with domestic and euro-zone fiscal rules following its exit from a 2010 bailout with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The employment-led recovery, the ratings firm said, gained momentum in the first quarter of the year, with unemployment falling to 11.5% in July, in line with the euro-zone average, from a peak of 15% in early 2012. The improved conditions, Fitch said, should lead to gross domestic product growth of 2.2% this year and 2% in 2015-2016.

Ireland fell into crisis when the collapse of its bloated property market weighed on its banks and brought the country close to bankruptcy.

Fitch forecast the 2014 general government deficit will fall below the 4.8% of GDP target and said it expects a small primary surplus, compared with a primary deficit peak of more than 9% of GDP. Based on those trends, the firm said, the gross general government debt to GDP ratio is expected to approach 110% by 2019. It peaked in 2013 at 123%.