The number of new Standard & Poor bond credit ratings soared 30 per cent in 1999, as more European companies and financial institutions looked to bond markets as a source of finance.
The increase of 327 new ratings brings the total number of credit ratings in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to 1,800.
The credit ratings are essential for selling bonds to investors who are not familiar with the names of bonds.
But S&P is warning the increase in the number of ratings and an improvement in the European economy does not mean the reduction of risk. S&P western Europe managing director Francois Veverka says: “On the contrary, the risk profile will probably increase across the board.”