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Sovereign ratings during crises: is this time different?

Why, despite the increase in public debt levels around the world have sovereign ratings been largely unaffected by the COVID-19 crisis?


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During the great financial crisis several European sovereigns were abruptly downgraded by private credit rating agencies. Given the importance of these ratings in terms of funding access both from the central bank and from private financial institutions, ratings are considered to have played a pro-cyclical role during that crisis. However, despite the massive use of deficits and the resulting increase in public debt levels around the world to face the COVID-19 crisis, sovereign ratings have, for the moment, largely been unaffected this time. What explains the difference? Is this due to the different nature of the crisis or have regulatory and other changes implemented since the last crisis changed the rating landscape?