sovereign debt

Japan's Cheap Debt Could Cost the World Dearly

Fueled by a high domestic savings rate, Japan has piled up debt to epic levels over the last few decades. But as its population ages and its national savings rate drops, the days of cheap debt are coming to an end -- and the global economy will feel the effects.

Moody's Downgrades Ireland's Credit Rating

Ireland had its credit rating cut lowered one notch by Moody%u2019s Investors Service on "a significant loss of financial strength." Moody%u2019s lowered the country%u2019s rating to Aa2 from Aa1. The outlook on the new rating is negative. The cost of bailing out the country%u2019s banks is increasing pressures on Ireland%u2019s public finances, Bloomberg News reported. The country%u2019s recession forced it to run a budget deficit of 14.3% of GDP in 2009. That%u2019s the widest deficit in the eurozone.

Moody's Cuts Portugal's Rating as Debt Soars

Portugal, one of the countries at the heart of the European debt crisis, had its bonds downgraded by Moody's Investors Services Tuesday. The ratings agency warned that the Lisbon government's financial strength will continue to weaken because of heavy indebtedness.

S&P Keeps U.K. Sovereign Debt Rating at AAA

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed Engand's sovereign credit ratings Monday, but said its outlook remains negative. The pound sterling slipped against the dollar on the news, as S&P's outlook has been negative since May 2009.

Biz Brief: Fitch Ratings Warns the U.K.

In the debt and credit mess that now extends clear across Europe, Fitch Ratings has put the U.K. on notice to get its finances into much better shape -- pronto.

OECD Raises Economic Outlook Despite Debt, Inflation Fears

The OECD released a "glass half empty" economic outlook report Wednesday. Despite its upward revisions for GDP forecasts, the group is worried that sovereign debt issues and inflation in emerging markets may cause problems for the world's key economies.

EU Shock-and-Awe Rescue Plan Burns the Bears

Monday's relief rally in global stock markets is almost certainly overdone, but make no mistake: The European Union's sovereign debt rescue package just exploded a large chunk of the bearish case for stocks.

Can an EU-TARP Buffer the World From Europe's Crisis?

The financial crisis that started with overly indebted Greece is spreading rapidly to engulf Spain, Portugal, and European Union banks. The world may need a TARP-like rescue effort to contain Europe's contagion.

Europe Needs to Think Big About Its Bailout

Ratings downgrades for Spain, Portugal and Greece have alarmed already-rattled credit markets, sending borrowing costs sky-high. As contagion spreads, Europe's politicians need to stop dithering over the bailout and take dramatic steps to reassure markets.

Greek Deficit Is Worse Than Expected, Debt Downgraded

Eurostat, the Luxembourg-based statistical agency for the European Union, revised its deficit forecast for Greece to 13.6% of gross domestic product, up from 12.9%. Also on Thursday, Moody's Investor Services downgraded its rating on Greece's sovereign debt and warns that further downgrades could be in the offing. The credit ratings agency says that the reduction in its rating to A3 from A2 is based on the view that there is a significant risk that the country's debt may only stabilize at a higher and more costly level than previously thought.

Portugal Rate Cut Weighs On Global Markets

Shares in Europe were broadly lower Wednesday after the move, and the ratings agency warns of a possible further downgrade if the country doesn't drastically curtail its mounting budget deficits.

Economic Doomsday for 2012? Gold Bugs Shouldn't Get Their Hopes Up

They got a lift just yesterday, when Moody's warned that the the U.S. and Britain are "substantially" closer to losing their triple-A ratings. But too bad for them, it won't come to that. They'll just have to keep watching the Hollywood version of Armageddon, 2012.

Moody's Sends a Ratings Warning to Triple-A Governments

Moody's has sounded the alarm on triple A-rated sovereign debt from the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany due to strains on those governments' finances. It says the ratings are fine for now, but they could be downgraded if debt and deficits aren't brought under control.

Exposed: The Eurozone's Key Flaws

Beneath the celebration of Greece's "rescue" lie structural imbalances -- fundamental asymmetries that imperil the euro, the joint currency that has been the centerpiece of European unity since its introduction in 1999. The key imbalance is between export powerhouse Germany, which generates huge trade surpluses, and its trading partners, which run large trade and budget deficits, particularly Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

Despite All the Fear, a Return to Normal

The Fed's surprise move to raise its discount rate is just the latest event that unnerved investors. But a closer look what's happening in the U.S., China and Europe suggests that after years of economic crisis, things are starting to work the way they're supposed to again.

Will U.S. Markets Keep Sliding on Greece?

Here's hoping traders return from their long weekend too relaxed, refreshed or hungover to make any sudden moves. Heaven knows the equity markets have been volatile enough lately. And with sovereign-debt fears likely to weigh on traders' minds in the days ahead, don't be surprised if the market keeps trembling.

Greece Gets Support from E.U., However Vague

The European Union will give debt-plagued Greece a helping hand, maybe. EU President Herman Van Rompuy said that "euro area members will take determined and coordinated action if needed to safeguard stability in the euro zone as a whole." But details of the plan are still up in the air.

The Dow's Jump Doesn't Mean All's Well in Europe

The Dow surged Tuesday on reports the European Union was hatching a plan to end the Greek debt crisis, but just because the blue-chip index sits above 10,000 again doesn't mean the latest threat to equities is over. Investors should brace themselves for more tremors to come.

As Fear Returns, Can Dow 10,000 Hold?

If Dow 10,000 really is a key psychological level, then traders best call their shrinks. The major averages, already on a four-week losing streak, face anxiety over the Euroland debt debacles and waning earnings momentum. In other words, brace yourself for Dow 9,000 and change.

Gloom Rules Wall Street as Equities Drop to Three-Month Lows

Stocks suffered sharp declines Thursday amid weak jobs data, European debt fears and some disappointing earnings outlooks. Jittery investors scrambled out of equities and commodities and back into safe havens such as Treasurys and the dollar ahead of Friday's key unemployment report.