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Weekly Chart: A History of Credit Ratings in Latin America, 2000–2015

September 22, 2015

#WeeklyChart: A History of Credit Ratings in Latin America, 2000–2015
We know S&P downgraded Brazil in September—how significant is that move historically? Take a look.
Brazil might have lost its investment-grade rating from S&P but it still has a triple B rating per Moody's & Fitch.

Updated October 16 — With emerging markets wading through a global economic slowdown, Latin American countries are navigating rocky financial waters. On October 15, Fitch Ratings downgraded Brazil—now officially in a recession—to a BBB-, just a notch above junk-grade status. This follows Standard & Poor’s (S&P) decision on September 9 to demote Brazil to junk rating for the first time since 2007. About half of Latin America’s 10 largest economies by GDP hold investment-grade ratings today. 

But the “Big Three” ratings agencies—aka S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch Ratings—aren’t always aligned. Moody’s, for example, also downgraded Brazil’s credit ratings this year but kept it above junk status. And though these grades provide investors with valuable information on the risks of investing in country’s debt securities, some observers say they can manipulate perceptions and exacerbate financial crises.

  • Listen to what Moody's Mauro Leos had to say about Brazil's economy at a September 22 panel and catch up with his evaluation of other Latin American countries in our video interview.
  • At our Colombia conference, Standard & Poor's Sebastian Briozzo explained more about how his agency makes their ratings determinations.

In light of quickly changing economics in Latin America, AS/COA Online tracks investment ratings in the twenty-first century.