중앙데일리

Moody’s elevates Korea’s rating to pre-crisis peak

무디스, 韓 신용등급 A2→A1으로 상향
Cites economy’s ‘resilience’ and foresees robust growth  PLAY AUDIO

Apr 15,2010
Moody’s Investors Service yesterday lifted its credit rating on Korea, its first increase in nearly three years - restoring the rating to a level it hasn’t hit since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

Moody’s raised its rating on Korean government bonds from A2 to A1, the fifth highest notch in its 21-tier sovereign ratings system, which Korea lost in December 1997. It is the first among the three major international rating agencies to lift Korea’s sovereign rating that high.

“The change has been prompted by Korea’s demonstration of an exceptional level of economic resilience to the global crisis, while containing the government’s budget deficit,” Tom Byrne, a Moody’s senior vice president, said in an e-mail statement yesterday.

The agency also upgraded the ceiling on foreign currency bonds issued in Korea to Aa2 from Aa3, and the ceiling on foreign currency bank deposits from A2 to A1. The local currency bond and bank deposit ceilings remained unchanged at Aa1.

“Its highly open economy eked out a positive 0.2 percent gain in 2009, and is likely to stage a robust recovery with a 5 percent growth rate in 2010, even as fiscal stimulus measures are wound down,” Byrne said.

The agency also noted the country has maintained relatively sound fiscal health, with its 43.2 trillion won ($38.8 billion) fiscal deficit in 2009 turning out to be “relatively small” compared to other advanced economies.

“Such achievements place Korea in a favorable position when compared with most other A-rated countries,” Byrne said.

The Korean government expressed optimism that the upgrade would help local companies get more favorable rates when issuing bonds. “We expect the upgrade will stoke more positive sentiments on Korean stocks and bonds among foreign investors, and help upgrade credit ratings on local financial companies as well,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

Korean stock markets rallied since yesterday morning on expectations of the possible upgrade, and the announcement came right before the market’s close at 3 p.m. The benchmark Kospi soared 24.74 points, or 1.45 percent, to close at 1,735.33, the highest point since June 19, 2008.

The Korean won also gained heavily yesterday, strengthening to a level unseen since the subprime crisis kicked off in September 2008. The won-dollar rate closed at 1,112.20 won on the Seoul currency market yesterday, the lowest point since Sept. 12, 2008. In the wake of the 1997-98 Asian currency crisis, Korea’s sovereign rating plunged by six notches, down to Ba1, in a month. The rating was steadily lifted by five notches over the following years, reaching A2 in July 2007. But Moody’s agency left the rating unchanged since then.

Standard & Poor’s has maintained the same A rating on Korean government bonds since July 2005 and Fitch Ratings has left the rating at A+ since the last upgrade in October 2005.


By Jung Ha-won [hawon@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

무디스, 韓 신용등급 A2→A1으로 상향


무디스는 14일 우리나라 국채에 대한 신용등급을 A2에서 A1으로 전격 상향조정했다. 무디스는 등급전망은 안정적으로 유지했다.

무디스의 우리나라 국가신용등급 상향은 2007년 7월 이후 2년 9개월만에 이뤄졌다. 이는 1998년 이후 최고 등급이다.

톰 번 무디스 부사장은 이 날 싱가포르 발로 배포한 보도자료에서 "이번 상향조정은 한국경제가 전세계적인 위기에서 정부 재정적자를 억제하면서 예외적인 회복력을 보이고 있기 때문"이라고 말했다.

한국 경제는 세계 경제환경의 개선에 빠르게 반응하고 있으며, 정부는 지속가능한 경제성장을 돕는 정책을 취했다고 무디스는 설명했다.

  • 한글 기사 보기



    dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장