US-based rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has affirmed the emirate of Sharjah’s rating of A/A-1 with a stable outlook, a decision based partly on forecasts of strong economic growth in the region.

Sharjah’s economy benefits from the growth in the wider UAE economy. S&P says that, in certain circumstances, Sharjah would be able to access financial help from the UAE.  It notes that it does not anticipate such a need in the immediate future.

The agency says that further upgrades of Sharjah’s rating are constrained by “underdeveloped political institutions”, as well as overly centralised policymaking.

Economic fundamentals in the emirate remain strong, says S&P, due in part to a diverse production base. The four largest sectors are real estate and business services, manufacturing, mining, quarrying and energy.

Without any official real GDP data, S&P estimates that real GDP growth will be approximately 5 per cent.

Sharjah was granted its first local and foreign currency rating by both the US’ Moody’s Investor Services and S&P at the beginning of the year.