LOS ANGELES— Standard & Poor's revised its outlook on Hawaii to stable from positive, affirming its AA rating ahead of plans to price $1.1 billion in debt.
S&P analysts cited a change in circumstances that reduces the likelihood that the rating agency will raise its rating within a one-to-two year timeframe.
"One such change is the strengthening U.S. dollar, which makes Hawaii a more expensive destination for tourists with international origins," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Gabriel Petek. "Other signs of potential softening are reflected in Hawaii's arrivals, which dipped during the final quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of this year after 17 quarters of growth."
The state plans to issue the $575 million series 2014 EO general obligation bonds, $503.3 million of series 2014 EP GO refunding bonds, and $25 million series 2014 EQ taxable GO bonds the week of Nov. 10, according to Standard & Poor's.
S&P also affirmed its AA-minus long-term rating on the state's certificates of participation.
Analysts also cited the increasing importance of the construction industry, which has shown some mixed signals in recent quarters.
The upcoming change in the administration was also a concern for raters.
Current Gov. Neil Abercrombie lost in the Democratic primary, so there will be a new governor in January, which could change financial policies that S&P viewed favorably in boosting the state's outlook to positive a year ago.
S&P viewed favorably the Abercrombie administration's financial plan built around a policy objective of maintain rainy day fund balances of 10% of more.
The concern is that the informal policy might not continue into the new administration, Petek said.