Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold vs Cash in a Financial Crisis - Richard_Mills
2.Current Stock Market Rally Similarities To 1999 - Chris_Vermeulen
3.America See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon - Part2 - James_Quinn
4.Stock Market Trend Forecast Outlook for 2020 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Who Said Stock Market Traders and Investor are Emotional Right Now? - Chris_Vermeulen
6.Gold Upswing and Lessons from Gold Tops - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Economic Tribulation is Coming, and Here is Why - Michael_Pento
8.What to Expect in Our Next Recession/Depression? - Raymond_Matison
9.The Fed Celebrates While Americans Drown in Financial Despair - John_Mauldin
10.Hi-yo Silver Away! - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
Stock Market Deviation from Overall Outlook for 2020 - 22nd Feb 20
The Shanghai Composite and Coronavirus: A Revealing Perspective - 22nd Feb 20
Baltic Dry, Copper, Oil, Tech and China Continue Call for Stock Market Crash Soon - 22nd Feb 20
Gold Warning – This is Not a Buying Opportunity - 22nd Feb 20
Is The Technology Sector FANG Stocks Setting Up For A Market Crash? - 22nd Feb 20
Coronavirus China Infection Statistics Analysis, Probability Forecasts 1/2 Million Infected - 21st Feb 20
Is Crude Oil Firmly on the Upswing Now? - 20th Feb 20
What Can Stop the Stocks Bull – Or At Least, Make It Pause? - 20th Feb 20
Trump and Economic News That Drive Gold, Not Just Coronavirus - 20th Feb 20
Coronavirus COVID19 UK Infection Prevention, Boosting Immune Systems, Birmingham, Sheffield - 20th Feb 20
Silver’s Valuable Insights Into the Upcoming PMs Rally - 20th Feb 20
Coronavirus Coming Storm Act Now to Protect Yourselves and Family to Survive COVID-19 Pandemic - 19th Feb 20
Future Silver Prices Will Shock People, and They’ll Kick Themselves for Not Buying Under $20… - 19th Feb 20
What Alexis Kennedy Learned from Launching Cultist Simulator - 19th Feb 20
Stock Market Potential Short-term top - 18th Feb 20
Coronavirus Fourth Turning - No One Gets Out Of Here Alive! - 18th Feb 20
The Stocks Hit Worst From the Coronavirus - 18th Feb 20
Tips on Pest Control: How to Prevent Pests and Rodents - 18th Feb 20
Buying a Custom Built Gaming PC From Overclockers.co.uk - 1. Delivery and Unboxing - 17th Feb 20
BAIDU (BIDU) Illustrates Why You Should NOT Invest in Chinese Stocks - 17th Feb 20
Financial Markets News Report: February 17, 2020 - February 21, 2020 - 17th Feb 20
NVIDIA (NVDA) GPU King For AI Mega-trend Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 17th Feb 20
Stock Market Bubble - No One Gets Out Of Here Alive! - 17th Feb 20
British Pound GBP Trend Forecast 2020 - 16th Feb 20
SAMSUNG AI Mega-trend Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 16th Feb 20
Ignore the Polls, the Markets Have Already Told You Who Wins in 2020 - 16th Feb 20
UK Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic WARNING! Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham Outbreaks Probable - 16th Feb 20
iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF IBB AI Mega-trend Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 15th Feb 20
Gold Stocks Still Stalled - 15th Feb 20
Is The Technology Stocks Sector Setting Up For A Crash? - 15th Feb 20
UK Calm Before Corona Virus Storm - Infections Forecast into End March 2020 - 15th Feb 20
The Growing Weaponization of Space - 14th Feb 20
Will the 2020s Be Good or Bad for the Gold Market? - 14th Feb 20
Predictive Modeling Suggests Gold Price Will Break Above $1650 Within 15~30 Days - 14th Feb 20
UK Coronavirus COVID-19 Infections and Deaths Trend Forecast 2020 - 14th Feb 20
Coronavirus, Powell and Gold - 14th Feb 20
How the Corona Virus is Affecting Global Stock Markets - 14th Feb 20
British Pound GBP Trend and Elliott Wave Analysis - 13th Feb 20
Owning and Driving a Land Rover Discovery Sport in 2020 - 2 YEAR Review - 13th Feb 20
Shipping Rates Plunge, Commodities and Stocks May Follow - 13th Feb 20
Powell says Fed will aggressively use QE to fight next recession - 13th Feb 20
PALLADIUM - THIS Is What a Run on the Bank for Precious Metals Looks Like… - 13th Feb 20
Bitcoin: "Is it too late to get in?" Get Answers Now - 13th Feb 20
China Coronavirus Infections Soar by 1/3rd to 60,000, Deaths Jump to 1,367 - 13th Feb 20
Crude Oil Price Action – Like a Coiled Spring Already? - 13th Feb 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Nadeem Walayat Financial Markets Analysiis and Trend Forecasts

Sovereign Debt-Default Survival Kit, The Four Countries That Will Keep Their AAA Credit Ratings

Stock-Markets / Global Debt Crisis Jul 19, 2011 - 09:29 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Stock-Markets

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMartin Hutchinson writes: Stories about debt downgrades and sovereign-debt defaults are dominating the headlines.

And it's no longer just Europe that we have to be worried about. On Friday, Standard and Poor's warned that there was a 50-50 chance that the United States would lose its AAA debt rating in the next 90 days - even if the debt ceiling didn't result in a U.S. default.


When you get right down to it, we're all asking the same urgent question: Just where the hell can I go for a really safe investment?

Fortunately, I have an answer for you.

The Sovereign-Debt-Default Survival Guide
S&P put us on notice back in April, when the ratings agency affirmed the country's AAA/A-1+ sovereign credit ratings - but also cut its outlook on the United States' long-term debt rating from "stable" to "negative." The last time that happened to the United States was 70 years ago - right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. What S&P is talking about now, though, is a reduction of the country's actual credit rating. For years, investors throughout the world have viewed U.S. government debt as the "safe haven" of last resort.

With a cut in the country's credit rating, those days would be over.

If you're searching for alternatives to U.S. debt, the good news is that Standard & Poor's has granted 18 other countries that top AAA credit rating. The bad news is that the selection isn't as luxuriant as it first appears.

It's important to separate the prospects from the suspects.

For example, S&P granted the Isle of Man that top AAA rating. Unlike many folks, I have actually been to the Isle of Man - my first wife won a weekend vacation there in a magazine promotion. Although it's a lovely spot and affords wildlife watchers lots of interesting opportunities, I can report that the cold, rain-swept resort has very little economy - other than a casino full of Liverpool grannies with accents incomprehensible to an outsider.

Casinos are supposed to be highly lucrative, but when you think of the Isle of Man casino, don't think of Macao or Las Vegas. Picture instead the lonely Indian reservation casino in remote Salamanca, NY - host to the occasional half-empty tour bus from Pittsburgh. The Isle of Man has a population of 80,000 - which is much larger than I would have guessed. It also has the world's oldest continuously existing parliament, the Tynwald - which was established way back in 979 AD.

But I still don't think that I'd buy its bonds.

A Global Sovereign-Debt Excursion
Given the lesson we've learned from our close look at the Isle of Man, I think it's worth taking a quick sovereign-debt safari. This is one trip around the world that won't cost you a dime. Indeed, in an era of spiraling fears about sovereign-debt defaults, it should actually bolster your bottom line.

Let's take a spin through the list of Standard & Poor's AAA-rated countries - in alphabetical order:

  • Australia and Austria have little in common other than their AAA debt ratings. Of the two, I'd trust Australia rather more because of its mineral wealth. However, it has quite high debt and a tendency towards populist governments. Austria has a huge welfare state and a somewhat-shaky economy that's dependent on financial services. I don't see either going bust, but neither would be my first choice.
  • Canada is a pretty solid outfit in my view, and one of the world's safest economies - something we've told all of you Money Morning readers on several previous occasions. The fact that Canada got itself into trouble in the early 1990s has proved to be a blessing; it has reduced government spending since then - to the point that, overall, it's slightly lower than in the United States. I'll grant you that Canada has a reputation for being boring. But as you know, for bond investors, boring is good!
  • Denmark and Finland would be pretty solid if they were standing on their own. Unfortunately, they are part of the euro community, which means they could get sucked into appallingly expensive bailout schemes. And unlike their German compatriot, Denmark and Finland aren't big enough to say "no."
  • France is struggling with big budget deficits. Although there's no "F" in PIIGS (the acronym of dodgy southern European economies consisting of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain), there probably ought to be.
  • Germany is the single-most solid economy in the European Union (EU), and boasts a large export surplus. On its own, Germany is a slam-dunk AAA economy. Even as a euro member, it seems unlikely the EU can do anything too ruinous without Germany signing on, because it would have to pay most of the cost. In my bottom-line view, that means Germany's top-tier credit rating is likely to remain solid.
  • Guernsey is an offshore British island and popular tax haven. Its population only totals 66,000, but it has a good offshore-banking business. And being further south, Guernsey also features better weather than its Isle of Man counterpart.
  • Hong Kong currently faces a situation in which its government spending is rising faster than gross domestic product (GDP). As it is now part of China, I would also have to say that it now faces a fairly substantial political risk.
  • Liechtenstein and Luxembourg have vastly different outlooks. Of the two, Liechtenstein's the one you want, due to its hereditary Hapsburg monarchy, flourishing tax-haven banking industry and truly lovely Alpine scenery. Unfortunately, its population at 35,000 is even smaller than that of Guernsey. Luxembourg is an EU banking center that has the misfortune to be technically the EU's richest country. Suckers!
  • The Netherlands offers investors pretty much the same mix of advantages and disadvantages as Denmark and Finland except that it isn't Scandinavian. Expect, therefore, a substantial EU/Eurozone discount.
  • Norway isn't an EU member, so nobody can make it bail out Greece. Now you're talking! Plus, it's a major oil exporter, with a huge ($570 billion), well-managed sovereign wealth fund. If you can find any Kingdom of Norway debt, buy it!
  • Singapore is the country I would regard as the most solid economy of the S&P AAA-credit-rating club, chiefly because it has a more diverse economy than Norway. Singapore is beautifully run, and one of the least-corrupt countries in the world. In short: It's rock solid.
  • Sweden, unlike its Norway counterpart, doesn't have much oil and has no trust. It also has a heavy social welfare system and an expensive government. On the plus side, it had the sense to stay out of the euro.
  • Switzerland is basically a Norway - but with banks instead of oil. It, too, is rock solid.
  • The United Kingdom is no longer an empire, and has no money these days. There's not much industry left, which leaves it very heavily dependent on a bunch of dodgy hedge funds in the City of London. Unlike the United States, the United Kingdom has made at least some attempt to get its public spending under control. And while I would say it's pretty likely to follow its U.S. counterpart into a credit-rating downgrade, if I were S&P, I'd downgrade France before either of these two.

So there you have it. As I warned, there's not all that much to choose from - although the choice selections (Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Singapore) all look pretty solid.

As you assemble your safe-haven investments, keep in mind a couple of Asian countries that aren't AAA-rated, but also aren't overly indebted. And they're run by grownups. I'm talking about Taiwan (AA-minus) and South Korea (A).

At a juncture in which sovereign-debt defaults are a very real possibility, it's clear bond safety isn't what it used to be.

[Bio Note: If you're an income investor, the financial markets can be a downright frightening place right now.

Stocks are too volatile, dependable high dividend yields are as rare as hen's teeth, and U.S. Treasury yields are anemic (not to mention the associated growing risk of a cut in the U.S. credit rating).

Most investors are watching as the threat of sovereign debt defaults around the world gut their portfolios. Others have retreated to the sidelines.

But Money Morning's Martin Hutchinson has developed a strategy that combines safety and profits - and that will enable you turn these "negatives" to your advantage. Click here to learn how you, too, can use these techniques to build a lifetime of wealth, safety and security.]

Source :http://moneymorning.com/2011/07/19/sovereign-debt-default-survival-kit-four-countries-will-keep-aaa-ratings/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2011 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules