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AAA Rating Renewed 21 June 2004

Isle of Man Treasury Minister Allan Bell today welcomed Standard & Poor’s renewal of the Island’s ‘AAA’ long-term sovereign credit and senior unsecured debt ratings. In addition, the short-term sovereign credit rating was reaffirmed as ‘A – 1+’.

The ratings, based on the Island’s robust financial position and stable outlook, reaffirm the Isle of Man’s position as a leading international business centre. Most notably, the Island’s open, export-oriented and increasingly flexible economy was highlighted as a key attribute contributing to the renewal.

Commenting on the announcement, Treasury Minister Allan Bell welcomed the recognition of the Island’s prudent economic policies:

“Standard & Poor’s statement yet again is clear in its confirmation of the Isle of Man’s sound economic position and stable outlook.

“In particular, the strength of the Government’s balance sheet, a reflection of many years of hard work and prudent fiscal policies, was highlighted, in addition to the Island’s open and increasingly flexible economy.

“We are delighted that the Isle of Man’s economic strength has again been endorsed by such an authoritative and independent third party. This underlines the Island’s position as an international business centre with all the fundamentals in place for sustaining success.

"We can look to the future with clarity and confidence – our economy is robust, our regulation of financial services has been commended by the IMF, we have an accepted response to the EU tax package, and we are on course to deliver a standard zero rate of income tax for business in 2006.”

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