A unique feature of this book is the extensive use of specially written "newspaper" articles designed to simulate current macroeconomic news. Each chapter contains exercises that enable the reader to relate specific underlined passages in these articles to the theory presented in preceding chapters. This distinctive approach ensures real-world applicability, and supporting diagrams further enable the reader to relate current economic news to the theoretical material discussed.
Chapter 1 presents the main issues that are addressed in this book. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 provide the key notions to understand sovereign ratings. Chapter 2 presents an overview of sovereign rating activity since the first such ratings were assigned in 1918. Chapter 3 analyzes the meaning of sovereign ratings and the significance of rating scales; it also describes the refinement of credit rating policies and tools. Chapter 4 focuses on the sovereign rating process. Chapters 5 and 6 open the black box of sovereign ratings. Chapter 5 compares sovereign rating methodologies in the interwar years with those in the modern era. After examining how rating agencies have amended their methodologies since the 1990s, Chapter 6 scrutinizes rating disagreements between credit rating agencies (CRAs). Chapters 7 and 8 measure the performances of sovereign ratings by computing default rates and accuracy ratios: Chapter 7 looks at the interwar years and Chapter 8 at the modern era. The two chapters assess which CRA assigns the most accurate ratings during the respective periods. Chapters 9 and 10 compare the perception of sovereign risk by the CRAs and market participants. Chapter 9 focuses on the relation between JP Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index Global spreads and emerging countries’ sovereign ratings for the period 1993–2007. Chapter 10 compares the eurozone members’ sovereign ratings with Credit Default Swap-Implied Ratings (CDS-IRs) during the Greek debt crisis of November 2009–May 2010.