Company News

CORRECTED-GRAPHIC-Falling AAAngels: The shrinking 'triple A' world

 (Corrects last time Fitch had 10 'triple A' sovereigns to
1998 from 2003)
    By Marc Jones
    LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) - Canada became the latest
country to be stripped of a prized 'triple A' sovereign
credit rating after Fitch downgraded it on Wednesday.
    Below is a list of all the countries that still carry at
least one triple A grade as well as graphics showing the
steady decline of the top rating bracket over the last 15

 S&P     Rating        Fitch   Rating        Moody'  Rating
         Outlook               Outlook       s       Outlook
 Austra  Negative      Austra  Negative      Austra  Stable
 lia                   lia                   lia     
 Canada  Stable        Denmar  Stable        Canada  Stable
 Denmar  Stable        German  Stable        Denmar  Stable
 k                     y                     k       
 German  Stable        Luxemb  Stable        German  Stable
 y                     ourg                  y       
 Liecht  Stable        Nether  Stable        Luxemb  Stable
 enstei                lands                 ourg    
 Luxemb  Stable        Norway  Stable        Nether  Stable
 ourg                                        lands   
 Nether  Stable        Singap  Stable        New     Stable
 lands                 ore                   Zealan  
 Norway  Stable        Sweden  Stable        Norway  Stable
 Singap  Stable        Switze  Stable        Singap  Stable
 ore                   rland                 ore     
 Sweden  Stable        United  Stable        Sweden  Stable
 Switze  Stable                              Switze  Stable
 rland                                       rland   
                                             United  Stable
    After Wednesday's downgrade of Canada, Fitch now has the
fewest ‘AAAs’ since 1998. It now rates 10 sovereigns ‘AAA’,
which, at less than 10% of rated sovereigns, is the smallest
ever share of the sovereign portfolio. 
    From August 2004 until April 2009, there were between
16-19 'AAA' sovereigns, the highest number ever, and the
period of greatest 'AAA' stability. Historically, 18
sovereigns have had top grades with Fitch, while there were
19 on S&P Global's list going into the 2008 financial
    Japan was the first sovereign to lose its 'AAA' rating,
in 1998 from Fitch and 2001 from S&P. Since then, Austria,
Finland, France, Ireland, Spain, Britain, in the case of S&P
the United States, and now Canada for Fitch have all
followed suit. 
    There have been few recent upgrades into the coveted
bracket. The Netherlands got its 'AAA' back from S&P in late
2015, Australia also won its 'AAA' from Fitch in November
2011 though it had earned it back as early as 2003 from S&P.
     Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark,
Australia have all regained S&P ‘AAA’ ratings after losing
them at various points, though no country has even regained
one stripped by Fitch. 
    With the fall in the number of ‘AAA’ sovereigns, their
collective shares of global government debt and GDP have
declined as well. 
    Fitch estimated that, at end-2006, prior to the onset of
the global financial crisis, ‘AAA’ sovereigns accounted for
nearly half of total government debt. 
    Analysts at ING estimate that it is now below 25% while
S&P, which no longer grades the U.S. - the world's biggest
government borrower - as triple A, calculated it to be
around 7% last year.


 (Additional reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Hugh