Monday, 16th of January , I will be available all day to discuss implications from the recent S&P decisions.
Luni, 16 Ianaurie, va stau la dispozitie toata ziua sa discutam implicatiile deciziilor S&P.
Please send your questions either to my personal mail firstname.lastname@example.org or on my blog florincitu.wordpress.com
Va rog sa trimiteti intrebarile pe adresa de e-mail personala email@example.com or pe blog la florincitu.wordpress.com
Standard & Poor’s Takes Various Rating Actions On 16 Eurozone Sovereign Governments
Publication date: 13-Jan-2012 16:36:27 EST
View Analyst Contact Information
In our view, the policy initiatives taken by European policymakers in recent weeks may be insufficient to fully address ongoing systemic stresses in the eurozone.
We are lowering our long-term ratings on nine eurozone sovereigns and affirming the ratings on seven.
The outlooks on our ratings on all but two of the 16 eurozone sovereigns are negative. The ratings on all 16 sovereigns have been removed from CreditWatch, where they were placed with negative implications on Dec. 5, 2011 (except for Cyprus, which was first placed on CreditWatch on Aug. 12, 2011).
FRANKFURT (Standard & Poor’s) Jan. 13, 2012–Standard & Poor’s Ratings
Services today announced its rating actions on 16 members of the European
Economic and Monetary Union (EMU or eurozone) following completion of its
We have lowered the long-term ratings on Cyprus, Italy, Portugal, and Spain by
two notches; lowered the long-term ratings on Austria, France, Malta,
Slovakia, and Slovenia, by one notch; and affirmed the long-term ratings on
Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
All ratings have been removed from CreditWatch, where they were placed with
negative implications on Dec. 5, 2011 (except for Cyprus, which was first
placed on CreditWatch on Aug. 12, 2011).
. See list below for full details on the affected ratings.
The outlooks on the long-term ratings on Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia,
Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal,
Slovenia, and Spain are negative, indicating that we believe that there is at
least a one-in-three chance that the rating will be lowered in 2012 or 2013.
The outlook horizon for issuers with investment-grade ratings is up to two
years, and for issuers with speculative-grade ratings up to one year. The
outlooks on the long-term ratings on Germany and Slovakia are stable.
We assigned recovery ratings of ‘4’ to both Cyprus and Portugal, in accordance
with our practice to assign recovery ratings to issuers rated in the
speculative-grade category, indicating an expected recovery of 30%-50% should
a default occur in the future.
Today’s rating actions are primarily driven by our assessment that the policy
initiatives that have been taken by European policymakers in recent weeks may
be insufficient to fully address ongoing systemic stresses in the eurozone. In
our view, these stresses include: (1) tightening credit conditions, (2) an
increase in risk premiums for a widening group of eurozone issuers, (3) a
simultaneous attempt to delever by governments and households, (4) weakening
economic growth prospects, and (5) an open and prolonged dispute among
European policymakers over the proper approach to address challenges.
The outcomes from the EU summit on Dec. 9, 2011, and subsequent statements
from policymakers, lead us to believe that the agreement reached has not
produced a breakthrough of sufficient size and scope to fully address the
eurozone’s financial problems. In our opinion, the political agreement does
not supply sufficient additional resources or operational flexibility to
bolster European rescue operations, or extend enough support for those
eurozone sovereigns subjected to heightened market pressures.
We also believe that the agreement is predicated on only a partial recognition
of the source of the crisis: that the current financial turmoil stems
primarily from fiscal profligacy at the periphery of the eurozone. In our
view, however, the financial problems facing the eurozone are as much a
consequence of rising external imbalances and divergences in competitiveness
between the eurozone’s core and the so-called “periphery”. As such, we believe
that a reform process based on a pillar of fiscal austerity alone risks
becoming self-defeating, as domestic demand falls in line with consumers’
rising concerns about job security and disposable incomes, eroding national
Accordingly, in line with our published sovereign criteria, we have adjusted
downward our political scores (one of the five key factors in our criteria)
for those eurozone sovereigns we had previously scored in our two highest
categories. This reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and
predictability of European policymaking and political institutions have not
been as strong as we believe are called for by the severity of a broadening
and deepening financial crisis in the eurozone.
In our view, it is increasingly likely that refinancing costs for certain
countries may remain elevated, that credit availability and economic growth
may further decelerate, and that pressure on financing conditions may persist.
Accordingly, for those sovereigns we consider most at risk of an economic
downturn and deteriorating funding conditions, for example due to their large
cross-border financing needs, we have adjusted our external score downward.
On the other hand, we believe that eurozone monetary authorities have been
instrumental in averting a collapse of market confidence. We see that the
European Central Bank has successfully eased collateral requirements, allowing
an ever expanding pool of assets to be used as collateral for its funding
operations, and has lowered the fixed rate to 1% on its main refinancing
operation, an all-time low. Most importantly in our view, it has engaged in
unprecedented repurchase operations for financial institutions, greatly
relieving the near-term funding pressures for banks. Accordingly we did not
adjust the initial monetary score on any of the 16 sovereigns under review.
Moreover, we affirmed the ratings on the seven eurozone sovereigns that we
believe are likely to be more resilient in light of their relatively strong
external positions and less leveraged public and private sectors. These credit
strengths remain robust enough, in our opinion, to neutralise the potential
ratings impact from the lowering of our political score.
However, for those sovereigns with negative outlooks, we believe that downside
risks persist and that a more adverse economic and financial environment could
erode their relative strengths within the next year or two to a degree that in
our view could warrant a further downward revision of their long-term ratings.
We believe that the main downside risks that could affect eurozone sovereigns
to various degrees are related to the possibility of further significant
fiscal deterioration as a consequence of a more recessionary macroeconomic
environment and/or vulnerabilities to further intensification and broadening
of risk aversion among investors, jeopardizing funding access at sustainable
rates. A more severe financial and economic downturn than we currently
envisage (see “Sovereign Risk Indicators”, published Dec. 28, 2011) could also
lead to rising stress levels in the European banking system, potentially
leading to additional fiscal costs for the sovereigns through various bank
workout or recapitalization programs. Furthermore, we believe that there is a
risk that reform fatigue could be mounting, especially in those countries that
have experienced deep recessions and where growth prospects remain bleak,
which could eventually lead us to the view that lower levels of predictability
exist in policy orientation, and thus to a further downward adjustment of our
Finally, while we currently assess the monetary authorities’ response to the
eurozone’s financial problems as broadly adequate, our view could change as
the crisis and the response to it evolves. If we lowered our initial monetary
score for all eurozone sovereigns as a result, this could have negative
consequences for the ratings on a number of countries.
In this context, we would note that the ratings on the eurozone sovereigns
remain at comparatively high levels, with only three below investment grade
(Portugal, Cyprus, and Greece). Historically, investment-grade-rated
sovereigns have experienced very low default rates. From 1975 to 2010, the
15-year cumulative default rate for sovereigns rated in investment grade was
1.02%, and 0.00% for sovereigns rated in the ‘A’ category or higher. During
this period, 97.78% of sovereigns rated ‘AAA’ at the beginning of the year
retained their rating at the end of the year.
Following today’s rating actions, Standard & Poor’s will issue separate media
releases concerning affected ratings on the funds, government-related
entities, financial institutions, insurance companies, public finance, and
structured finance sectors in due course.
Sovereign Government Rating Methodology And Assumptions, June 30, 2011
Criteria For Determining Transfer And Convertibility Assessments, May 18, 2009
Introduction Of Sovereign Recovery Ratings, June 14, 2007
Standard & Poor’s Puts Ratings On Eurozone Sovereigns On CreditWatch With Negative Implications, Dec. 5, 2011
Trade Imbalances In The Eurozone Distort Growth For Both Creditors And Debtors, Says Report, Dec. 1, 2011
Standard & Poor’s RPM Measures The Eurozone’s Great Rebalancing Act, Nov. 21, 2011
Who Will Solve The Debt Crisis?, Nov. 10, 2011
Ireland’s Prospects Amidst The Eurozone Credit Crisis, Nov. 29, 2011
Austria (Republic of) AA+/Negative/A-1+ AAA/Watch Neg/A-1+
Belgium (Kingdom of) (Unsolicited Ratings)
AA/Negative/A-1+ AA/Watch Neg/A-1+
Cyprus (Republic of) BB+/Negative/B BBB/Watch Neg/A-3
Estonia (Republic of) AA-/Negative/A-1+ AA-/Watch Neg/A-1+
Finland (Republic of) AAA/Negative/A-1+ AAA/Watch Neg/A-1+
France (Republic of) (Unsolicited Ratings)
AA+/Negative/A-1+ AAA/Watch Neg/A-1+
Germany (Federal Republic of) (Unsolicited Ratings)
AAA/Stable/A-1+ AAA/Watch Neg/A-1+
Ireland (Republic of) BBB+/Negative/A-2 BBB+/Watch Neg/A-2
Italy (Republic of) (Unsolicited Ratings)
BBB+/Negative/A-2 A/Watch Neg/A-1
Luxembourg (Grand Duchy of) AAA/Negative/A-1+ AAA/Watch Neg/A-1+
Malta (Republic of) A-/Negative/A-2 A/Watch Neg/A-1
Netherlands (The) (State of) (Unsolicited Ratings)
AAA/Negative/A-1+ AAA/Watch Neg/A-1+
Portugal (Republic of) BB/Negative/B BBB-/Watch Neg/A-3
Slovak Republic A/Stable/A-1 A+/Watch Neg/A-1
Slovenia (Republic of) A+/Negative/A-1 AA-/Watch Neg/A-1+
Spain (Kingdom of) A/Negative/A-1 AA-/Watch Neg/A-1+
N.B.–This does not include all ratings affected.
Standard & Poor’s will hold a teleconference on Saturday Jan. 14, 2012 at 3:00
PM UK time. The teleconference can be accessed live or via replay and by phone
or audio internet streaming
The call will begin promptly at 3:00 p.m.
For security reasons, the passcode will be required to join the call.
DIAL IN NUMBERS:
Country Toll Numbers Freephone/Toll Free Number
AUSTRIA 43-1-92-80-003 0800-677-861
BELGIUM 32-1-150-0312 0800-4-9471
DENMARK 45-7014-0239 8088-2100
FINLAND 106-33-149 0800-1-12771
FRANCE 33-1-70-75-25-35 080-563-9909
GERMANY 49-69-2222-3198 0800-101-6627
GREECE 30-80-1-100-0674 00800-12-6609
IRELAND 353-1-247-5274 1800-992-870
ITALY 39-02-3601-0953 800-985-849
LUXEMBOURG 352-27-000-1351 8002-9058
NETHERLANDS 31-20-718-8530 0800-023-4392
SLOVAK REPUBLIC 421-2-322-422-16
SPAIN 34-91-414-40-78 800-098-194
UNITED KINGDOM 44-20-7950-6551 0800-279-3590
USA 1-210-795-1143 866-297-1588
TELECONFERENCE REPLAY INFORMATION:
Call notes: This call is to be recorded for Instant Replay purposes
UK TOLL #: +44-20-7108-6279
UK TOLL FREE #: 0800-376-9027
The instant replay will start at: Jan. 14, 2012 5:30pm UKT
The instant replay will end at: Feb-14-2012 11:59pm UKT
Passcode for replay: 7498
Restrictions may exist when accessing freephone/toll free numbers using a
AUDIO STREAMING AND AUDIO REPLAY INFORMATION:
To join the event:
Conference number: 1297498
To access the Audio Replay of this call, all parties can:
1. Go to the URL listed above.
2. Choose Audio Streaming under Join Events.
3. Enter the conference number and passcode. (Note that if this is a recurring
event, multiple dates may be listed.)
Replays are available for 30 days after the live event.
This unsolicited rating(s) was initiated by Standard & Poor’s. It may be based
solely on publicly available information and may or may not involve the
participation of the issuer. Standard & Poor’s has used information from
sources believed to be reliable based on standards established in our Credit
Ratings Information and Data Policy but does not guarantee the accuracy,
adequacy, or completeness of any information used.
Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on
the Global Credit Portal at http://www.globalcreditportal.com. All ratings affected
by this rating action can be found on Standard & Poor’s public Web site at
http://www.standardandpoors.com. Use the Ratings search box located in the left
column. Alternatively, call one of the following Standard & Poor’s numbers:
Client Support Europe (44) 20-7176-7176; London Press Office (44)
20-7176-3605; Paris (33) 1-4420-6708; Frankfurt (49) 69-33-999-225; Stockholm
(46) 8-440-5914; or Moscow 7 (495) 783-4009.
Primary Credit Analyst: Moritz Kraemer, Frankfurt (49) 69-33-99-9249;
Secondary Contact: Frank Gill, London (44) 20-7176-7129;