- IMF slashed the country’s long-term GDP forecasts, hurting its Fiscal Space score for Argentina
- Spain had the biggest BSRI score gain due to an improved IMF assessment of its net debt position
- Brazil (down four to 31st) fell the most in the rankings (along with China)
The latest update of the BlackRock Sovereign Risk Index (BSRI) details quarterly movers in the 50-country index and highlights Argentina’s position. Argentina’s BSRI score dipped as the IMF slashed the country’s long-term GDP forecasts, hurting its Fiscal Space score.
A history of defaults and political upheaval have been the country’s Achilles’ heel – and have dragged Argentina’s overall score lower as the country negotiates with holdout creditors who have rejected its debt restructuring. Weak Willingness to Pay is the main drag on Argentina’s overall score.
Also, revisions to the IMF’s long-term GDP growth forecasts resulted in some large ranking shifts in the quarter. Belgium (up four notches in our 50-country index), UK (up three), Israel and Netherlands (both up two) benefited from upward revisions to their GDP growth forecasts. Spain had the biggest BSRI score gain (and its ranking rose four notches to 38th) due to an improved IMF assessment of its net debt position.
Brazil (down four to 31st) fell the most in the rankings (along with China). Brazil’s debt is becoming more front- loaded. Short-term debt rose to 21% of GDP from 12% a quarter earlier, IMF data show.
China fell four notches to 23rd on a modest decline in its BSRI score. China’s score is closely bunched together with that of countries such as UK, Poland and Israel. Russia dropped three spots due to a decline in its perceived Willingness to Pay and a downward revision to its growth prospects against a backdrop of rising tensions with Ukraine.
Drawing on a pool of financial data, surveys and political insights, the BSRI provides investors with a framework for tracking sovereign credit risk. The index uses more than 30 quantitative measures, complemented by qualitative insights from third-party sources.
The index breaks down the data into four main categories that each count toward a country’s final BSRI score and ranking: Fiscal Space (40%), Willingness to Pay (30%), External Finance Position (20%) and Financial Sector Health (10%). Fiscal Space includes metrics such as debt to gross domestic product (GDP), the debt’s term structure, tax revenues and dependency ratios. Willingness to Pay measures a government’s perceived effectiveness and stability, and factors such as perceived corruption. External Finance Position includes exposure to foreign currency debt and the state of the current account balance. Financial Sector Health gauges the banking system’s strength.