Global Credit Rebounds

Global credit quality improved in the first half of this year, a rating agency here has reported.

Global structured finance upgrades tracked by Fitch Ratings surpassed downgrades during the first half of 2004 with a 1.7:1 ratio, up sharply from the 0.8:1 ratio recorded during the comparable 2003 period.

"Despite the recent 0.25% U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hike and likely future rate increases, Fitch expects performance in U.S. securities backed by prime quality consumer assets to remain stable to positive contrasting with expectations for the subprime sector," Fitch said.

"Subprime RMBS may come under increasing pressure if interest rates continue to rise as refinancing activity has slowed, albeit from a frenetic pace over the last couple of years, which may result in a slowdown in home appreciation in most regions,' said Claire Mezzanotte, managing director, credit policy, Fitch Ratings, in a company press release.

"The interest rate effect appears to be more marginal for ABS as strong increases in personal income and consumer spending, coupled with a long-awaited drop in personal bankruptcies, likely mean continued stabilization for the ABS sector."

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