LONDON - The Fitch ratings agency has upgraded Spain's credit grade, citing an improvement in the outlook of the country's finances and economy.
The agency lifted the country's sovereign rating Friday by one notch to BBB+ from BBB.
In a report, Fitch said the "economic reforms of the labour market, pension system, fiscal framework and financial sector that have been enacted by the authorities since the start of the crisis have improved the longer-term outlook."
Spain was among the European countries hardest hit by the financial crisis. The property market's collapse in 2008 pushed the economy into recession and the government needed help from other eurozone countries to rescue its banks.
Spain's government said in a statement that it valued the new rating because it was recognition of the government's commitment to reform.
"These reforms will solidify the economic recovery, which will help to contain the deficit and permit net job creation this year," the statement said.
Although unemployment is still near 26 per cent, Spain's economy is out of recession and government borrowing rates have dropped.