12/23/2011 10:32 EST | Updated 02/22/2012 05:12 EST

Moody's confirms Canada's AAA credit rating

Moody's Investor Service gave Canada a vote of confidence on Friday, reaffirming the country's pristine AAA credit rating while calling the federal government's finances "comfortable."

"Canada's ratings appear unlikely to move downward in the near future," the credit agency said.

The credit and debt crises that started in 2008 did some damage to the country's finances. But Moody's repeated a theme heard from many sources already — that Canada wasn't hurt quite as badly by the recession, and has done comparatively better than other countries in the aftermath.

"The country was affected less than most other advanced economies by the global credit crisis and recession, and its government financial position remains comfortable," Moody's said.

Moody's cites the risk of Quebec separation and the possibility of waning commitment to debt reduction as major long-term threats to Canada's sovereign debt rating, but the agency says the risk of both those things is quite low.

The company noted Canada posted a strong current account surplus in the decade up to 2008, but a combination of the global recession and lower commodity prices have brought it back to deficit since then.

Pressure on the public purse because of pension liabilities is lower in Canada than it is in many other developed economies, Moody's noted.