CANADA - Quebec has had its financial outlook rating for long-term foreign and currency debt upgraded to 'positive' from 'stable' by Fitch Ratings, despite rising debt levels and high pension liabilities.
This is the highest level of debt among all the Canadian provinces with debt servicing alone consuming 11.5% of revenues.
Fitch stated it would maintain the province's AA- rating, reflecting overall confidence in fiscal polices designed to balance the budget and reduce the level of debt relative to GDP.
However, the agency said it would continue to monitor the fallout of the province's institutional fund manager Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Quebec's holdings of asset backed commercial paper (ABCP) which were suspended in August due to liquidity and solvency concerns.
PwC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte must break up their consultancy and audit businesses into distinct firms to provide greater focus on the "most challenging and objective audits", the competition watchdog has said.
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