Moody’s adjusts ratings of 9 European sovereigns to capture downside risks

Bad news from Europe – things don’t seem to be improving; in fact they’re getting more troublesome all the time.

As anticipated in November 2011, Moody’s Investors Service has today adjusted the sovereign debt ratings of selected EU countries in order to reflect their susceptibility to the growing financial and macroeconomic risks emanating from the euro area crisis and how these risks exacerbate the affected countries’ own specific challenges.

Moody’s actions can be summarised as follows:

– Austria: outlook on Aaa rating changed to negative

– France: outlook on Aaa rating changed to negative

– Italy: downgraded to A3 from A2, negative outlook

– Malta: downgraded to A3 from A2, negative outlook

– Portugal: downgraded to Ba3 from Ba2, negative outlook

– Slovakia: downgraded to A2 from A1, negative outlook

– Slovenia: downgraded to A2 from A1, negative outlook

– Spain: downgraded to A3 from A1, negative outlook

– United Kingdom: outlook on Aaa rating changed to negative

The main drivers of today’s actions are:

– The uncertainty over (i) the euro area’s prospects for institutional reform of its fiscal and economic framework and (ii) the resources that will be made available to deal with the crisis.

– Europe’s increasingly weak macroeconomic prospects, which threaten the implementation of domestic austerity programmes and the structural reforms that are needed to promote competitiveness.

– The impact that Moody’s believes these factors will continue to have on market confidence, which is likely to remain fragile, with a high potential for further shocks to funding conditions for stressed sovereigns and banks.

To a varying degree, these factors are constraining the creditworthiness of all European sovereigns and exacerbating the susceptibility of a number of sovereigns to particular financial and macroeconomic exposures.

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