The latest “big” development in Euro-area debt crises came yesterday as Moody downgraded France’s credit rating from Aaa to Aa1. Obviously, this was a massive event for the Euro, and for global markets.
It was a pretty boring day, leading us to wonder what use these ratings agencies are in the first place. Remember August of last year, when S&P cut the US credit rating? Or how about when S&P stripped France of its AAA rating in January, along with issuing downgraded credit ratings for eight other European countries: single-notch downgrades for Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Austria; two notches each for Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal? Markets reacted then pretty much like they have today.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zippo.
It’s starting to make us wonder… other than the fact that certain entities are only allowed to invest in “investment grade” bonds, why do we even bother with the ratings agencies? They are, after all, the ones who stamped their AAA seal of approval on those mortgage-backed securities… right up until they imploded the global financial system.
If you’re counting on Moody, Fitch, or S&P to warn you of impending financial problems… well, let’s just say you might do just as well looking for warning signs in next years’ history books.
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