S&P Upgrade Reinvigorates Poland ETFs

Poland ETFs found renewed strength Monday after Standard & Poor’s surprise credit rating outlook upgrade.

On Monday, the iShares MSCI Poland Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EPOL) gained 4.2% and VanEck Vectors Poland ETF (NYSEArca: PLND) rose 3.4%. Nevertheless, EPOL is still down 5.5% and PLND is 5.7% lower year-to-date.

Polish markets stood out among European stocks after a surprise upgrade from credit rating firm S&P. Some market observers feared a downgrade of the BBB+ rating after the country’s first downgrade since communism fell from the S&P back in January, Reuters reports.

Poland experienced a downgrade earlier this year due to an increase in government spending and a cut in the retirement age. The government administration imposed new taxes on banks, rolled out a program of child benefits and pledged to raise tax-free income, which would all increase Poland’s budget deficit beyond Eurozone limits.

The ratings agency, though, raised its outlook on Poland’s credit rating to stable from negative, stating it was no longer worried that the Polish government would try to undermine the independence of the central bank.

Nevertheless, Poland, along with other emerging markets, remain vulnerable in the face of the uncertain European political environment and prospects of rising interest rates in the U.S., which would keep pressure on the developing markets and the Polish zloty currency, according to Piotr Poplawski, senior economist at ING BSK.