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Announcement:

Moody's 2010 outlook for sub-sovereigns: challenges and rating pressures persist

Global Credit Research - 14 Jan 2010

London, 14 January 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has already taken several rating actions on regional and local governments (RLGs) since the beginning of the global crisis and anticipates that further downward adjustments will be required during 2010, the rating agency says in a Special Comment published today.

Since October 2008, 24% of the Moody's-rated RLGs outside the US have been affected by rating actions. These mostly comprised one-notch downgrades or outlook changes in a negative direction, reflecting primarily increased systemic risks and issuer-specific conditions.

"Although many of these rating actions already incorporated forthcoming challenges, we believe further critical challenges and downward rating pressures remain in certain countries and for some credits," says Mauro Crisafulli, a Moody's Senior Vice President and author of the Special Comment entitled "Sub-Sovereign Outlook 2010".

Moody's believes that, although the worst of the economic recession is behind us, its effect will likely intensify in 2010 for the more exposed of the RLGs, mainly due to the delay between economic performance and tax collection. Budgetary constraints will persist, to varying degrees, into the medium term. Fiscal performances and debt metrics are expected to weaken overall, and it remains difficult to anticipate a reversal trend, given the sluggish global economic rebound forecast.

Policy responses vary across countries and, in some cases, their effectiveness remains untested. "The capacity to implement planned policies and to achieve the expected return to balanced budgets is a challenging task for many RLGs, given their limited political and managerial experience in balancing and controlling the effects of the extraordinary measures needed after such an unprecedented shock," Mr Crisafulli adds.

In addition, while market access has not been a major problem so far for most RLGs, the potential increase in the cost of funding may pose challenges to already stretched budgets.

With this report, Moody's introduces regional sector outlooks that provide a broad picture of the direction of fundamental credit conditions in the sub-sovereign sector in each country over the next 12 to 18 months.

- CEE/CIS countries display overall negative credit conditions for RLGs as a result of severe output contraction, high revenue sensitivity and fiscal consolidation requirements. Selected rating actions are expected, primarily in Ukraine, Russia and Slovakia.

- Western Europe shows a stable outlook for the majority of countries, broadly underpinned by better economic conditions, RLGs' more diverse and less sensitive revenue bases and stronger institutional frameworks. However, downward rating actions are likely to affect sub-sovereigns in some vulnerable countries such as Spain, Portugal and Greece.

- Outside EMEA, overall stable credit conditions exist for most emerging countries. The main exception is Mexico, where shrinking federal transfers may lead to selected downward RLG rating adjustments. The downward rating pressure for Canadian provinces and Australian states, reflecting their deficit spending programmes and greater debt, is mitigated by their strong fiscal flexibility and supportive institutional frameworks.

The principal methodologies used in rating the entities covered by this press release are "Regional and Local Governments Outside the US" and "The Application of Joint Default Analysis to Regional and Local Governments", published respectively in May 2008 and December 2008, which can be found at www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating these entities can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website.

*****

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information please contact EMEA Press Information in London +44-20-7772-5456; New York Press Information +1-212-553-0376; Juan Pablo Soriano in Madrid +34-91-310-1454; Alex Cataldo in Milan +39-02-914-81-100; Eric de Bodard in Paris +331-5330-1076; Detlef Scholz in Frankfurt +49-69-707-30-700; Mardig Haladjian in Limassol +357-25-586-586; Alex Sazhin in Moscow +7 495 228 60 60; Petr Vins in Prague +4202 2422 2929; Tokyo Press Information +813-5408-4110; Hilary Parkes in Toronto +1-416-214-1635; Hong Kong Press Information +852-2916-1150; Hector Lim in Sydney +612 9270 8102; Luiz Tess in São Paulo +5511-3043-7300; Alberto Jones Tamayo in Mexico City +5255-1253-5700; Daniel Rúas in Buenos Aires +54 11-4816-2332 ext. 105; Leon Classen in Johannesburg +27-11-217-5470; Jehad el-Nakla in Dubai +971 4 401 9536; or visit our web site at www.moodys.com

Toronto
David Rubinoff
Managing Director
International Public Finance
Moody's Canada Inc.
(416) 214-1635

Milan
Mauro Crisafulli
Senior Vice President
International Public Finance
Moody's Investors Service
Telephone:+39-02-9148-1100

Moody's 2010 outlook for sub-sovereigns: challenges and rating pressures persist
No Related Data.
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