Why They Keep Missing: An Empirical Investigation of Sovereign Bond Ratings and Their Timing
Scottish Journal of Political Economy,
Two contradictory strands of the rating literature criticize that rating agencies merely follow the market on the one hand, and emphasizing that rating changes affect capital movements on the other hand. Both focus on explaining rating levels rather than the timing of rating announcements. Contrarily, we explicitly differentiate between a decision to assess a country and the actual rating decision. We show that this differentiation significantly improves the estimation of the rating function. The three major rating agencies treat economic fundamentals similarly, while differing in their response to other factors such as strategic considerations. This reconciles the conflicting literature.
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Reports des European Forecasting Network (EFN)
Reports des European Forecasting Network (EFN) Das European Forecasting Network...
The Case for a European Rating Agency: Evidence from the Eurozone Sovereign Debt Crisis
Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money,
Politicians frequently voice that European bond issuers would benefit from the presence of a Europe-based rating agency. We take Fitch as a prototype for such an agency. With its ownership structure and a headquarter in London, Fitch is more European than Moody’s and S&P; during the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, it also issued more favorable ratings. Fitch’s rating actions, however, were largely ignored by the bond market. Our results thus cast doubt on the benefits of a European credit rating agency.
The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields
Journal of Banking & Finance,
Can a negative shock to sovereign ratings invoke a vicious cycle of increasing government bond yields and further downgrades, ultimately pushing a country toward default? The narratives of public and political discussions, as well as of some widely cited papers, suggest this possibility. In this paper, we will investigate the possible existence of such a vicious cycle. We find no evidence of a bad long-run equilibrium and cannot confirm a feedback loop leading into default as a transitory state for all but the very worst ratings. We use a bivariate semiparametric dynamic panel model to reproduce the joint dynamics of sovereign ratings and government bond yields. The individual equations resemble Pesaran-type cointegration models, which allow for valid interference regardless of whether the employed variables display unit-root behavior. To incorporate most of the empirical features previously documented (separately) in the literature, we allow for different long-run relationships in both equations, nonlinearities in the level effects of ratings, and asymmetric effects in changes of ratings and yields. Our finding of a single good equilibrium implies the slow convergence of ratings and yields toward this equilibrium. However, the persistence of ratings is sufficiently high that a rating shock can have substantial costs if it occurs at a highly speculative rating or lower. Rating shocks that drive the rating below this threshold can increase the interest rate sharply, and for a long time. Yet, simulation studies based on our estimations show that it is highly improbable that rating agencies can be made responsible for the most dramatic spikes in interest rates.