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05 Sep 2012
New York, September 05, 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service has today adjusted the country ceilings
for Portugal's local- and foreign-currency bonds and
deposits to Baa3 from Aaa. This means that the highest rating that
can be assigned to a domestic issuer in Portugal or to a structured finance
security backed by Portuguese-domiciled receivables has now been
lowered to Baa3. At the same time, Moody's has also
adjusted the short-term foreign-currency debt and deposit
ceilings to Prime-3 from Prime-1.
Moody's notes that these changes have no rating implications for
rated issuers in Portugal, as none are currently rated above the
revised ceiling level of Baa3. Moody's is however likely
to downgrade to a maximum of Baa3 all structured finance (SF) transactions
backed by Portuguese receivables currently rated above Baa3, which
are already subject to a maximum SF rating of Baa1. The same is
true of rated covered bond that are backed by Portuguese receivables whose
senior-most tranche ratings that currently exceed Baa3.
Moody's decision to adjust Portugal's country ceiling is based
on the rating agency's assessment of the risks of economic and financial
instability in the country and the likely impact this would have on all
other borrowers and SF instruments in Portugal, as income and access
to liquidity and funding could be significantly curtailed under stressed
conditions. The ceiling also reflects the risk of exit and redenomination
in the unlikely event of a default by the sovereign. At the same
time, the three-notch gap between the government debt rating
of Ba3 and the ceiling of Baa3 provides room for higher ratings for some
asset classes with stronger intrinsic credit characteristics and with
the capacity to absorb the economic and financial pressures that could
stem from a sovereign default.
Uncertainty concerning debt market access remains for many governments
in the euro area. While the Portuguese government has been issuing
substantial amounts of Treasury bills up to 18-months maturity,
it is not yet clear whether it will regain access to the longer-term
global capital markets in September 2013 as currently planned.
If the government needed to request a second bailout, official creditors
may require Portugal to implement a debt restructuring with its private
sector creditors, even though official creditors have ruled out
any such restructurings beyond the one completed in Greece as a condition
to that country's second support package.
If the Portuguese government's debt rating were to fall further
from its current Ba3 level, Moody's would likely reassess
the country ceiling at that time. Similarly, Moody's
would also reassess the country ceiling in the event of an upgrade of
the Portuguese government's bond rating.
Moody's country ceilings capture externalities and event risks that
arise unavoidably as a consequence of locating a business in a particular
country and that ultimately constrain domestic issuers' ability
to service their debt obligations. As such, the ceiling encapsulates
elements of economic, financial, political and legal risks
in a country, including political instability, the risk of
government intervention, the risk of systemic economic disruption,
severe financial instability risks, currency redenomination and
natural disasters, among other factors, that need to be incorporated
into the ratings of the strongest issuers. The ceiling caps the
credit rating of all issuers and transactions with material exposure to
those risks -- in other words, it affects all domestic issuers
and transactions other than those whose assets and revenues are predominantly
sourced from or located outside of the country, or which benefit
from an external credit support.
For a more detailed discussion of Moody's approach to country risk
ceilings, please see Moody's Rating Implementation Guidance
entitled "Local-Currency Country Risk Ceiling for Bonds and
Other Local Currency Obligations", published on 16 August
The Global Scale Credit Ratings on this press release that are issued
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Investors Service Ltd., One Canada Square, Canary Wharf,
London E 14 5FA, UK, in accordance with Art.4 paragraph
3 of the Regulation (EC) No 1060/2009 on Credit Rating Agencies.
Further information on the EU endorsement status and on the Moody's
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Moody's considers the quality of information available on the rated
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Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it
uses in assigning a rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's
considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent
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information received in the rating process.
Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on the Rating
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Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to
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Senior Vice President
Sovereign Risk Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
MD - Sovereign Risk
Sovereign Risk Group
Moody's adjusts Portugal's country ceilings to Baa3
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
No Related Data.
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