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Strong growth in European corporate debt ratings
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Irish companies which have rated corporate debt are part of the trend of European corporate debt issuance catching up the the US
Corporate ratings are becoming increasingly important in Europe, which has lagged behind the US in the issuance of corporate debt securities. One reason for this is European corporates’ reliance on banks for their funding, rather than accessing the debt market. With the introduction of the euro and the emergence of a unified European bond market, the pattern of ratings distribution in Europe is changing.

The three largest credit rating agencies all show growth in the number of European ratings. Standard & Poor's show an increase in European ratings of 25 per cent. in 1997 to 40 per cent in 1998 and continued growth into 1999. Moody's show growth of 13 per cent in 1997 to 19 p.c. in 1998, while Fitch Ibca’s ratings grew by 9 per cent. in 1997 to 16 per cent in 1999.

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