World's top banks hit with Moody's downgrade

The health of 15 of the world's largest financial institutions has been called into serious question after Moody's downgraded their credit ratings, citing risk exposure and the eurozone crisis.

Some of the biggest names in banking -- including Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Citigroup, HSBC and Deutsche Bank -- saw their ratings slashed Thursday, spelling increased investor scrutiny and potentially higher borrowing costs.

Moody's said, in essence, that the banks risked massive losses and that they were exposed to the roiling financial crisis and to each other.

"All of the banks affected by today's actions have significant exposure to the volatility and risk of outsized losses inherent to capital markets activities," said Greg Bauer, Moody's global banking managing.

In total four firms were downgraded by one notch, 10 firms by two notches and one by three notches.

Holding companies of a number of the same banks were also downgraded.

Credit Suisse faced the largest downgrade, with its rating slashed three levels from Aa1 to A1.

Under-pressure US banking giant Morgan Stanley was seen as winning a partial victory by only receiving a two-notch downgrade.

Morgan Stanley welcomed the partial reprieve, but nevertheless questioned the Moody's decision.

"While Moody's revised ratings are better than its initial guidance of up to three notches, we believe the ratings still do not fully reflect the key strategic actions we have taken in recent years," it said in a statement.

Royal Bank of Scotland, which was also downgraded, called the ratings change "backward-looking," saying it did not recognize the "substantial improvements the group has made to its balance sheet, funding and risk profile."

Citigroup was similarly unimpressed with the Moody's verdict.

"Citi strongly disagrees with Moody's analysis of the banking industry and firmly believes its downgrade of Citi is arbitrary and completely unwarranted."

In a jab Citi added that "sophisticated" investors no longer depend heavily on ratings agencies to assess credit risk.

Ratings agencies like Moody's were pilloried for failing to predict the cataclysm that engulfed Wall Street and the world beginning in 2008, and Thursday's move was part of a sector-wide effort to tighten up ratings.

But even so, the swathe of downgrades amounts to a fresh indictment of the health of the global financial system, which has seen wave after wave of crisis over the last four years.

Since the sub-prime crisis banks have seen the value of their assets slump and their access to capital shrink, which has repeatedly forced taxpayers and central banks to step in to provide liquidity.

Many governments have been forced to provide bailouts, straining already precarious public finances.

On Thursday Spain became the latest to signal a bank bailout.

Madrid announced that its crisis-torn banks need up to 62 billion euros ($78 billion) to survive. It is expected to formally ask its eurozone partners for the cash on Friday.

The 15 banks downgraded were: Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Societe Generale and UBS.

Moody's began its review of the banks in February, and the move was widely anticipated, helping to send the Dow Jones Industrial Average sharply lower on Thursday.

In a separate announcement, Moody's also downgraded the long-term debt rating of Lloyds TSB by one notch.

The British bank said the change would have "limited impact on our funding costs and market capacity," pointing out that its short-term funding rating remained unchanged.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’
    ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’

    Conflict in the South China Sea can affect economic growth and stability in Southeast Asia, New Zealand warned yesterday, amid China’s aggressive reclamation activities in disputed waters. New Zealand is marking its 40 th year of diplomatic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and hopes to intensify trade and other linkages with the 10-member grouping. ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping territorial claims with China over the Spratly …

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. Pagdilao stressed that it has been more than a month since De Lima announced to the media that the DOJ would be …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options