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Kazakhstan Credit Rating Downgraded Amid Low Oil Prices

Kazakhstan's credit rating has been downgraded by Fitch Ratings with the agency citing the detrimental effect of lower oil prices on the country's economy.

Fitch cut Kazakhstan's credit grade from BBB+ to BBB, the rating company's second-lowest investment grade.

It was Kazakhstan's third downgrade since the country's currency sank in January to a record low amid plummeting oil prices.

The ratings agency said low oil prices led to the Kazakh government's debt being 22.1 percent of GDP in 2015, a steep jump up from 13.9 percent the previous year.

Fitch also predicted that Kazakhstan's economy would contract by 1 percent this year.

The agency also pointed to Kazakhstan's high inflation rate of 15.7 percent in March -- the highest such rate in seven years -- as a reason for the downgrade.

Based on reporting by Bloomberg and TASS