Emerging Markets Sovereign Rating Trends Midyear 2017

S&P Global Ratings
Written By: Moritz Kraemer
S&P Global Ratings
Written By: Moritz Kraemer

Overall sovereign creditworthiness in the top 20 emerging markets (EMs) across the world has remained broadly stable over the past five years. The share of EM sovereigns with investment-grade ratings ('BBB-' and above) is at 60% (see chart 1). The proportion of investment-grade EM sovereigns has remained the same since December 2016; we downgraded South Africa in April and upgraded Indonesia in May. Our outlooks on 11 of the top 20 EM sovereign ratings are stable, and there is one positive outlook (Russia). The number of negative outlooks and CreditWatch placements has increased to eight in the past six months, up from six in June.

In this report, we cover the 20 EM sovereigns with the highest absolute levels of outstanding commercial debt (see "Sovereign Debt 2017: Global Borrowing To Drop By 4% To US$6.8 Trillion," published on Feb. 23, 2017). All ratings referred to in this report are long-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings.

Overview
  • The negative outlook or CreditWatch bias has worsened since the start of 2017; the number of negative outlooks or CreditWatch placements on the top 20 major emerging market sovereigns now outnumbers positives by eight to one.
  • We currently have negative outlooks on six sovereigns: China, Colombia, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, and Venezuela. Our ratings on Brazil and Qatar are on CreditWatch with negative implications.
  • The average unweighted sovereign rating of our EM group has been more or less stable since the start of the year, as the upgrades of Argentina and Indonesia were counterbalanced by the downgrades of Qatar and South Africa.

Want to keep reading?

Download Article