Monday, November 19, 2012

France loses AAA-rating at same time UK bank risk managers reduce worries about high impact EU event

From the you cannot make this stuff up file:

As reported by the Guardian:
Threat to the financial system from sovereign risk was the biggest concern of 94% of those asked by the Bank of England – but fears over a 'high impact event' have fallen.

The eurozone crisis will not go away. More than nine out of 10 risk managers at financial firms asked about the greatest threat to the financial system cite sovereign risk. In the second half of 2012, it was the biggest concern of 94% of those asked by the Bank of England, while 77% were most worried about the risk of the economic downturn. 
"Sovereign risk is now cited by a greater proportion of respondents than previously recorded for any risk," the bank's systemic risk survey found. 
Yet, while the prospect of a eurozone meltdown is uppermost in bankers' minds, the overall concern about a "high impact" event is falling dramatically. 
Some 20% still feel the probability of such an event is high or very high but this is a 16 percentage point fall in the last six months while 34% now believe such an event is a low probability, a rise of 11 percentage points. 
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Moody's has downgraded France (is this a high impact event?)

France lost its top credit rating with Moody’s Investors Service, dealing a blow to President Francois Hollande’s efforts to show budget credibility in the face of a stalled economy. 
France was cut to Aa1 from Aaa, the rating company said today. 
The Moody’s downgrade follows one by Standard & Poor’s in January and increases pressure on Hollande to find ways to bolster growth in Europe’s second-largest economy in the midst of the region’s three year-old debt crisis. 
“The timing of this sort of announcement is awkward,” said Nicolas Veron, a visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “This downgrade comes a few days after announcements of structural reforms that are probably the strongest for a long time in France but it also signals that while they are ambitious the recent announcement of reforms is not enough to reassure investors that France is on the right track.” 
Moody’s said its decision to downgrade the rating and maintain the negative outlook reflects France’s long-term economic growth outlook is negatively affected by multiple structural challenges and the fiscal outlook is uncertain as a result of its deteriorating economic prospects.

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