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#Ratings Agencies

# ratings-agencies - Monday 12 November, 2012

Italian prosecutor files charges against ratings agencies

The lawyer has brought charges against Standard & Poor’s and Fitch ratings agencies for downgrading Italy’s credit rating and helping to fuel the euro crisis.

# ratings-agencies - Thursday 2 August, 2012

S&P: Return to markets is promising - but we won't increase Ireland's rating

The return to the bond markets is “an indication of progress”, it says – but the cost of borrowing is still way too high.

# ratings-agencies - Tuesday 15 May, 2012

Moody's cuts ratings of 26 Italian banks

The banks include the country’s two largest banks, with one third of the market – while 10 banks are now ‘junk’.

# ratings-agencies - Wednesday 14 December, 2011

Euro falls to 11-month low against dollar

Investor concerns about the stability of the eurozone have yet to be allayed by EU moves to strengthen the currency’s support system…

# ratings-agencies - Monday 28 November, 2011

Credit ratings of ALL European nations under threat, warns Moody's

The ratings agency said “multiple defaults” are now a possibility, and that more than one country could be forced to leave the euro.

# ratings-agencies - Sunday 27 November, 2011

Column: If we want to get out of this crisis, we must remember who put us here

The financial markets plunged us into economic meltdown, writes Hugh Torpey – so why are we still listening to them?

# ratings-agencies - Tuesday 20 September, 2011

Italy's credit rating slashed by Standard and Poor's

The agency said a “weakening” economy and fragile government were putting the country at risk.

# ratings-agencies - Thursday 10 March, 2011

From Business ETC Greece seeks EU action on ratings agencies Ratings Agencies

Greece seeks EU action on ratings agencies

Greece has asked the EU to urgently reform the way ratings agencies conduct business, after both it and Spain suffered a further downgrading by Moody’s.

# ratings-agencies - Wednesday 25 August, 2010

THE NATIONAL TREASURY MANAGEMENT AGENCY – the body which manages Ireland’s borrowing requirements, and its national debt – has criticised the decision of ratings agency Standard & Poor’s to downgrade Ireland’s debt rating.

The decision from S&P to downgrade the ratings – down to AA- from a previous rating of AA – means that Irish debt is seen as a riskier investment, and will likely see the NTMA required to increase it pays to investors who buy Irish debt.

NTMA chief John Corrigan told RTÉ that S&P’s analysis was based on an “extreme estimate” that the final cost of the government’s bank recapitalisation programme would reach €50 billion.

“We have taken issue with the rating agency,” he said. “It’s something we don’t like to do but there comes a point when the analysis is not robust.”

Last night, as news of the downgrade broke, the NTMA issued a statement with a similar conclusion, describing the approach as “flawed“.

What does it mean?

But why is the NTMA so annoyed – and how important is it that our rating has been downgraded?

Well, basically Ireland’s national rating is similar to the credit rating a person might get. If you’re good at making loan repayments or have a lot of money in the bank, you’ll get a good rating. If you struggle to repay your debts and don’t have much assets, you’ll get a lower rating and it therefore becomes tougher for you to to borrow.

As the name might suggest, an ‘AAA’ (or “triple A”) rating is the best one the agency can offer, with progressively fewer As – and the occasional plus or minus – being given to lower rankings.

Ireland’s new score of AA- isn’t exactly top of the class, but it’s still definitely in the upper reaches of the scores S&P assigns. We’re still very far away from being called ‘junk’. In fact, we could slip to a single A or even to BB before we’re given that ignominious title.

The only difference is that unlike the Moody’s downgrade last month, which brought its rating in line with those of S&P and the other main ratings agency Fitch, this change brings Ireland’s average another step downward.

We won’t find out for some time how the downgrade will affect us, however – the NTMA’s next bond auction isn’t until September 21, and the agency has already raised 99% of Ireland’s fundraising target for the year with three auctions still to go.

It will also be interesting to see whether the other agencies follow suit, with the S&P rating based on an arguably inflated estimate of how much the bank bailout will ultimately cost. Other ratings may be a little more conservative than S&P’s €50bn projection.