Thursday 22 March 2018

Moody's 'silence' on Ireland disappointing

Moody's Rating Agency company headquarters in New York City. Photo credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/GettyImages
Moody's Rating Agency company headquarters in New York City. Photo credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/GettyImages
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Moody's decision not to upgrade Ireland last week has been branded disappointing by a leading global financial services firm.

Analysts had been expecting the ratings giant to improve Ireland's outlook and possibly its rating on Friday, but it didn't make any announcement.

Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland said it had been expecting Moody's to at least upgrade its outlook for Ireland to positive from stable.

"Moody's stayed silent on Friday - leaving Ireland's sovereign rating at Baa1 (stable) where it has been since last May," said Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland analyst Fiona Hayes.

"This was disappointing as we had been looking for at least a move to positive outlook, if not a full upgrade. Moody's has consistently been more bearish than the other credit ratings agencies, despite more aggressive upgrades last year."

Ms Hayes noted the recovery here, the drop in debt and deficit levels and the return to profitability of both Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland.

Yesterday, Moody's published a credit opinion on Ireland and said challenges remain, including reducing the high debt level, which it said requires fiscal consilation "through the electoral cycle", as well as continuing need to deal with bad loans.

Meanwhile, Moody's Investor Service has launched a new credit rating agency, Moody's Public Sector Europe, dedicated to the European public sector debt market.

Moody's said the new agency will bring extra focus to areas including regional and local governments, universities, hospitals and housing associations, as well as not-for-profits and other government-related entities with a public service mandate. Moody's new wing estimates that funding needs for Europe's public sector in key markets - Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy - will reach nearly €180bn per year by 2016. It expects that in the UK, housing associations, universities and local authorities will be more active on the capital markets in the years ahead.

Irish Independent

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