For the first time, Scope Ratings has classified the Republic of Malta as a long-term A + issuer and senior unsecured rating in local and foreign currencies.
Scope also gave the island a short-term issuer rating of S-1 + in local and foreign currencies. All Outlooks were rated as stable.
The new rating was based on membership in the country's euro area, high economic growth, prudent financial management and a strong external position, Scope said.
Despite the relative strengths of Malta's rating, Scope pointed out the dangers of weak state-owned companies and limited supply-side constraints caused by a much tighter labor market.
The report found that Malta is vulnerable to political harmonization risks and changes in EU corporate tax law. It is predicted that the shortage of skilled workers will weigh on the country's longer-term growth potential.
Scope highlighted developments related to Pilatus Bank and the European Commission's request that Malta take stricter measures to combat money laundering.
"Scope recognizes that recent events are not likely to have an impact on public finances, but could hurt Malta's reputation as an emerging financial center," the agency said in a statement.