European credit quality in decline - S&P

The credit quality of European corporate issuers is in long-term decline, according to Standard & Poor's. The percentage of speculative-grade ratings in Europe was at a record high of 18% at the end of the second quarter this year, up from 8% in 1997.

Cheap borrowing and strong investor appetite for risk have been driving the trend, which is likely to endure, according to the agency's report, 'European Ratings Distribution: Rising Variation in Ratings Mix'.

The report envisages a similar situa

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