September 1, 2001
It is odd that a credit rating agency would relegate a country's foreign currency status to a lowly Caa1 while simultaneously saying it may upgrade that country's largest corporation. But that is exactly what Moody's Investors Service has done. In July, the agency cut Argentina's foreign currency rating because of a "significant increase in default risk." At the same time, it announced it was considering raising the rating of YPF, the Argentine oil company, which has a B2 foreign currency debt rating.
This bizarre situation is the result of Moody's decision in June to review sovereign ceilings for 38 borrowers, of which 28 are Latin American. Most of the 28 are banks, most of them Braz
Moody's Investors Service is grading banks and companies above their government's foreign currency rating ceiling, even if some countries are in very poor shape. Not everyone thinks its new policy is a good idea.