More firms see credit ratings rise

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More firms see credit ratings rise

The number of credit rating upgrades on Korean companies by global credit appraisers rose to a seven-year high last year on the back of consecutive ascents in the country’s sovereign rating, a report showed yesterday.

The three major global credit appraisers - Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) - raised credit ratings of 33 Korean public and private companies a total of 53 times in 2012, according to the Korea Center for International Finance (KCIF).

The number of rating upgrades is the largest since the 68 tallied in 2005. The number of companies that saw their ratings go up by the global appraisers grew five-fold last year to more than 30, compared with a year ago, the KCIF said.

“The increase in the number of companies whose ratings were upgraded shows the evaluation on our corporate sectors has improved overall,” said Kim Yoon-kyung, a KCIF economist.

Public firms basked in more rating improvements than others, buoyed by the back-to-back credit rating upgrades on Korea by the credit appraisers. State-run Korea Finance Corporation, Export-Import Bank of Korea and the Korea Development Bank got their ratings upgraded, along with many others.

In August last year, Moody’s notched up Korea’s sovereign rating to the fourth-highest level, followed by Fitch and S&P in September, both by one notch also.

In the private sector, affiliates of No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor - Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis - saw their ratings climb, on the back of their strong competitiveness in the global market, the report said.

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