Analysts are most upbeat about Ireland and UK -- S&P poll
THE UK and Ireland are the two countries international analysts are most optimistic about in 2014, according to a "straw poll" by rating agency Standard & Poor's.
The results are from a survey of almost 250 investors and analysts that the rating agency polled during a webcast about the credit outlook for countries in 2014. Those polled see the UK, followed by Ireland, Colombia and Mexico as the countries most likely to see their credit worthiness improve next year.
Brazil, Russia, India and China are the countries analysts are most pessimistic about, according to the poll.
S&P thinks rating downgrades will continue to outnumber upgrades next year.
Overall, the trend for 2014 looks slightly less negative according to S&P, but only because credit worthiness will settle at a new lower level.
The situation in Europe remains difficult, S&P warned.
"If the government bond markets in the periphery were to freeze again, there could be repercussions for sovereigns in the region, ending and reversing the positive feedback loop that was at work in 2013."
Little progress has been made, so far, to weaken the link between sovereigns and vulnerable banks in their jurisdictions, the analysts noted.
"A lot of work still needs to be done before we would consider that the crisis has been lastingly resolved, but we believe that the reforms that have been undertaken so far have laid the foundation for the greater number of stable outlooks than a year ago."
Rising imports and a stronger euro could put pressure on recovering peripheral euro area economies, such as Ireland, the analysts said.
On the other hand, more robust demand from within stronger countries, especially Germany, would help move towards a a lasting resolution to the crisis.