Wednesday, 7 August 2013

In a Globally Crippled Economy, Can There Be AAA-rated Countries?

According to S&P, the following countries have been rated AAA (see complete list of country ratings here):

 United Kingdom






 Hong Kong








Nine of the above countries are from Europe, the area of the globe that has been hit the hardest by recession and public debt issues.

Because of globalisation we are all on the same boat - every economy is connected to (almost) every other economy. This is what is meant by interdependency. The global economy forms a densely connected network through which information travels at the speed of the Internet. So, if the economy is a global mess - we're actually talking of a meltdown, which sounds pretty dramatic - can there exist triple-A rated economies? In theory yes. In theory anything is possible, nothing is impossible. But that of course depends on the theory.

How can a system that is severly crippled, impregnated with trillions and trillions of derivatives and toxic financial products, of which nobody knows the total amount in circulation (some say 10 times, some say 15 times the World's GDP - the uncertainty is high enough to reflect the severity of the problem.) contain so many large triple-A economies. Does that really make sense? In a state of metastacizing economic crisis how can this be explained?

The problem is quite simple really. Credit Rating Agencies are rating the wrong thing. They rate the Probability of Default (PoD) of a country (or a corporation). Instead, they should be rating other  more relevant characteristics of an economy, such as its resilience and complexity. Resilience (fragility) has nothing in common with performance. You can perform extremely well, and think you're like this:

but in reality you're like this:

Wouldn't you want to know? Isn't survival a nice reflection of success? More soon.