Friday, November 10, 2006
Iceland Has Second Most Developed Humans! Highly Indebted, too
by Haukur Magnússon in Grapevine (online)
Iceland comes in a close second to Norway in the field of “High human development” in the recently released 2006 edition of The United Nations Human Development Report. Various factors are taken into account when deciding the rank, among those the prevalence of Aids, Tuberculosis, smoking and condom use. The report defines “Human development” as being “[…] first and foremost about allowing people to lead a life that they value and enabling them to realize their potential as human beings,” and it’s goals as “[…] reducing extreme poverty, extending gender equality and advancing opportunities for health and education.” After Iceland, the top five reads: Australia, Ireland and Sweden, respectively.
An altogether less-pleasing report was released by international credit rating agency Fitch Ratings yesterday, where company affirmed the Icelandic national treasury’s positive credit rating while warning that outlook for Iceland’s credit rating was bleak. Pointing out that Iceland was the most heavily indebted sovereign that Fitch had rated, and that, along with heavy industry projects that upset the country’s social stability and changes in the local housing market, gave cause for future concern. The report adds that unstable financial markets made the local economy vulnerable to outside effects, such as a change in foreign interest rates, and that a rise in foreign investment fuelled by foreign short-term market loans added to the problem. Therefore it should be concluded that a stable economy for Iceland is still a while away from being realised. However, political stability, a strong status of government finances and a floating exchange rate weighed against the fact in the sovereign rating balance.