Factors that lead to changes in country ratings: a cross country comparison
KeywordsCountry ratings ; Rating agencies ; Greece ; European countries ; Default ; Sovereign ratings ; Sovereign debts ; Sovereign default
The ability of a country to borrow cheaply depends on its rating by the major rating agencies (S&P, Fitch, Moody’s). Greece today is in the junk category. The questions which raised are will it be able to borrow cheaply again in the open market? What should it accomplish for this to happen? To answer it one has to examine the previous rating behavior of the ratings firms. More specific, this study examines the determinants of the sovereign credit ratings provided by the three major rating agencies: Fitch Ratings, Moody’s and Standard & Poors. Analysis is employed in order to identify the common factors affecting these ratings. The impact of the variables correlated with these factors on ratings is then assessed through linear regression modeling. The study also highlights the importance of corruption which appears as a proxy for both economic development and the quality of country governance. The sample of this thesis consists of 11 European countries, including Greece and the data that used cover a period of the last 22 years. The models are specified according to variables that identified as significant in the existing literature.