Thomas Molloy: S & P's optimism is a cause for quiet celebration
WE have learned the hard way that the rating agencies which grade countries and companies are among the world's most powerful organisations.
Their views have the power to push up the cost of borrowing which can force governments to raise taxes or even default.
The agencies are so powerful that many blame them for the sub-prime crisis in the US which tipped the West into recession three years ago. But despite the agencies' mistakes, nobody can afford to ignore them and few can cross them.