Cantillon: Moody’s change of mind raises questions
It seems that when Moody’s changes its mind it does it in some style. The extent of its volte face on Ireland’s creditworthiness seems to have surprised many.The return to investment grade was one thing, but the positive outlook and prospect of a further upgrade this year is another.
Moody’s, for its part, did not dwell overly on why it changed its mind in the statement issued on Friday night. Keynes’s mantra that when the facts change I change my mind would appear to have been the order of the day.
And indeed, such is the euphoria generated by the upgrade that no one really wants to ask any awkward
The first one being why did it downgrade Ireland to junk status to begin with and then take so long to reverse its decision.
The answers to this question would require a deep probing of how rating agencies work and the extent to which the markets are hooked on ratings, good, bad and indifferent.
There is more than little of the appalling vista about the refusal of the industry to confront the rating agencies lack of clothing . And now Ireland has its investment grade rating back , we have no particular interest in questioning the credibility of the whole rating process which played such a part in the catastrophe of 2007. The game goes on.
The other awkward question raised by Ireland regaining its rightful place in the euro zone soft core is why core euro zone bond yields are at such record lows. Ireland can now borrow at a lower rate than it could five years ago when we enjoyed AAA status rather than a mere Ba1.
Logic would hold that such low yields mean that the Irish economy has never been in better shape.
The fact that we know this is not the case should again provoke some party pooping questions about the the fragility of the global economy.