BEIJING, July 14 (Reuters) - Fitch Ratings on Friday maintained its A+ rating on China with a stable outlook, citing the strength of the country's external finances and macroeconomic record.
Short-term growth prospects remain favourable, and economic policies have been effective in responding to an array of domestic and external pressures in the past year, Fitch said.
In a Reuters poll of 65 economists, China's economic growth is expected to reach 6.6 percent this year, topping the government's target of around 6.5 percent.
But large and rising debt levels across the non-financial sector, combined with the low stand-alone credit quality of Fitch-rated banks in the financial system, remain the most significant risk factor for the sovereign rating, Fitch said.
In May, Moody's Investors Service cut its sovereign ratings on China by a notch, putting them on par with those of Fitch. That move put Standard & Poor's one step above the two agencies.
Moody's had said it expects the financial strength of the world's second-largest economy to erode in coming years as growth slows and debt continues to mount. (Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Sam Holmes)