S&P jumped first, but Fitch has jumped further: the ratings agency has just knocked three notches off its credit rating for Ireland, placing the outlook at stable. Fitch’s rating is down to BBB+ from A-. S&P cut its rating two notches from AA- to A on November 24. Fitch is now two notches below S&P.

Moody’s, which has threatened a multi-notch downgrade, is again the last mover. Its rating remains at AA. So – for now – the chance of an Irish default is roughly equal to that of Russia or Japan, depending which rating agency you follow. This is likely to be temporary: Moody’s will probably join Fitch in a three- or even four- notch downgrade within a couple of weeks.

Ratings agency Fitch has cut Greece’s credit ratings by two notches from BBB+ to BBB-, signaling a further possible downgrade by issuing a negative outlook on the rating.

This is a bold step from Fitch: the chart shows their upgrades and downgrades have tended to follow or coincide with those of Moody’s and S&P. It remains to be seen whether their competitor agencies will follow them. Read more