credit rating

Ratings agency Standard & Poors has upgraded Argentina to B, the same level as Fitch and now one above Moody’s. The move follows hot on the heels of an upgrade from Fitch.

The sovereign credit rating is still well in junk territory, denoted by the grey shading in the chart, right. The highlighted green line is S&P’s historical rating for Argentina; red is Fitch and blue Moody’s. Click on the graphic to explore the full graphic, in which you can compare countries side by side.

The minimum rating on assets accepted as collateral at the Bank of England is Aa3 — but they can accept lower ratings whenever they please. That is the message of a Bank “clarification” issued today.

Conspiracy theorists might spot a pattern here. The ECB reduced its minimum threshold from A- to BBB- during the crisis, and recently extended this temporary measure into 2011. Read more

Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s have increased Turkey’s currency rating to BB and BB+ for foreign and local currencies, respectively. In both cases this is a one-notch increase. The outlook on both is positive, meaning barring any changes, S&P would expect to make a further upgrade within 12-24 months. Read more

Moody’s has raised Oman’s local and foreign currency government bond ratings to A1 from A2. The country ceiling for foreign currency bank deposits has also been lifted to A1 from A2 and the country ceiling for foreign currency bonds has been raised to Aa2 from Aa3. Oman’s local currency country ceilings remain at Aa2. The outlook on the ratings is stable.

“The main driver of today’s rating change is the comparative strength of Oman’s public finances within its rating peer group,” explained Tristan Cooper, a senior credit officer in Moody’s sovereign risk group. Read more

Latvia’s outlook has been raised to stable from negative by ratings agency Standard & Poors, just a day after the outlook on neighbour Estonia was similarly raised.

The reason – as for Estonia – is “successful fiscal consolidation”. Rating were affirmed – B for short- and BB for long-term debt. (This is below Estonia’s short- and long-term rating of A-.) Read more

Standard and Poors has revised its outlook for Estonia from negative to stable because of improved public finances.

“We believe Estonia has stabilized its public finances, which significantly increases its prospects for Eurozone accession in 2011. We are affirming our ‘A-/A-2′ long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings on Estonia,” said the ratings agency. Read more

Standard and Poors have raised the outlook for the Lithuanian Republic from negative to stable, and affirmed the country’s BBB long-term rating and A-3 short-term rating. The ratings agency praised Lithuania’s fiscal consolidation, saying: “The outlook revision reflects the government’s successful and still ongoing implementation of substantial budgetary consolidation in the face of a severe external shock.”

Standard Poor’s ratings agency cut its outlook on Japan’s AA long-term sovereign debt rating to negative from stable, citing reduced wiggle room on fiscal policy and voicing disappointment with the government’s budget
consolidation plans. The yen fell sharply against the dollar and the euro, although analysts said they expected financial markets to take the news in their stride (from Reuters).

… in the short-term, at least.

Moody’s has confirmed its current A2 bond rating for Greece in light of the Stability and Growth Programme, submitted to the European Commission last week. Read more

Simone Baribeau

Standard & Poor’s upgraded its outlook on Venezuela to stable from poor in a show of support for the country’s recent currency devaluation.

“We revised the outlook to stable because we believe that the latest government devaluation of the currency, combined with prospects for stable oil revenues, will reduce Venezuela’s fiscal pressures,” said Roberto Sifon Arevalo, a credit analyst at S&P. Read more