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Moody's concerned about household debt and house prices, maintains Canada at Aaa

The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Moody's Investor Service has raised concern about Canadian household debt and rising house prices, but maintained the country's triple-A rating and stable outlook.

Debt rating agency says the top rating and stable outlook are supported by Canada's relatively solid economic performance, trends in federal government finance and debt levels and a strong institutional and regulatory framework.

However, it noted that household debt is high and has continued to rise, as have house prices.

Moody's says this combination creates a risk for the country's banks and Ottawa, which guarantees a "considerable" portion of mortgages.

The report noted Canada's government debt is relatively low and, after a period of deficits, and the federal budget is projected to return to balance.

Moody's noted that the debt of the provinces is also large, but in general their credit profiles are very strong.