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FMS Wertmanagement -- Moody's affirms the Aaa ratings of Germany; maintains stable outlook

·22 min read

Rating Action: Moody's affirms the Aaa ratings of Germany; maintains stable outlookGlobal Credit Research - 29 Jan 2021Frankfurt am Main, January 29, 2021 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has today affirmed the Government of Germany's Aaa long-term issuer rating. Concurrently, Moody's has affirmed Germany's Aaa senior unsecured rating. The outlook remains stable.The key drivers for today's rating action are the following:(1) Germany's very high ability to apply effective countercyclical fiscal policies and deploy its large fiscal buffers to limit the impact of the COVID-19 shock. Moody's assessment of high economic strength is supported by Germany's large and very competitive economy that leads to a very high per-capita income.(2) Germany's exceptional debt affordability that offsets the impact of rising public debt with respect to Moody's assessment of fiscal strength.(3) Very strong institutions and governance as demonstrated by Germany's high shock-absorption capacity and credible track record of reversing adverse debt trends in the past. Moody's views this rating driver as a governance factor under the rating agency's ESG framework.The stable outlook reflects Moody's view that downside risks to the country's very strong credit profile are effectively mitigated by its very high economic strength, very favourable fiscal metrics and the capacity of the country's institutions to manage shocks and to address long-term challenges.Germany's local and foreign currency country ceilings remain unchanged at Aaa.In a related rating action, Moody's has today affirmed FMS Wertmanagement's (FMS-WM) Aaa long-term issuer rating. Concurrently, FMS-WM's senior unsecured, senior unsecured medium-term note (MTN) program and senior unsecured shelf rating have also been affirmed at Aaa, (P)Aaa and (P)Aaa, respectively. FMS-WM's short-term issuer rating, commercial paper program rating, deposit note/CD program rating and the other short-term rating have been affirmed at Prime-1, Prime-1, Prime-1 and (P)Prime-1, respectively. The outlook remains stable.FMS-WM is a resolution agency or "bad bank" scheme for 100% state-owned Hypo Real Estate Group, which was created under the Financial Market Stabilisation legislation in Germany. FMS-WM is rated on par with the German sovereign because of an explicit guarantee and a loss compensation obligation from the Financial Market Stabilisation Fund vis- -vis FMS-WM, which is ultimately an obligation of the German sovereign.Please click on this link https://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_ARFTL439415 for the List of Affected Credit Ratings. This list is an integral part of this Press Release and identifies each affected issuer.RATINGS RATIONALERATIONALE FOR THE AFFIRMATION OF THE Aaa RATINGSFIRST DRIVER: ONLY LIMITED IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 SHOCK ON GERMANY'S VERY HIGH ECONOMIC STRENGTHThe first driver of today's rating action relates to Germany's high economic strength based on its large and very competitive economy. In the current environment, Germany possesses the ability to apply an effective countercyclical fiscal policy based on its large fiscal buffers to limit the impact of the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. The large support packages of the government, which amount to almost 40% of GDP and are among the largest globally, provide significant income support for households' and companies' during the crisis and support the recovery.Job retention schemes that include the short-time work scheme saved around 2 million jobs or around 5% of employment in 2020. As a result, Moody's expects the supply side of the economy to remain mostly intact and the pandemic shock not to have a lasting impact on the medium-term growth prospects of the German economy. Against this backdrop, Moody's forecasts real GDP to rebound by 3.0% in 2021 after a contraction of 5.0% in 2020.Moody's anticipates that Germany will recover pre-crisis 2019 GDP levels by 2022. However, the risks to the baseline forecast remain tilted to the downside. A resurgence of infection waves or delays in rolling out the vaccines may result in more stringent restrictions and prolonged lockdowns, weighing on economic growth. A significantly slower global economic recovery and an increase in protectionism are additional downside risks to Moody's forecast, given Germany's relatively high openness and high integration with global value chains.That said, Moody's assesses the underlying economic strength of Germany as very high, supporting the Aaa rating, irrespective of Germany's relatively low trend GDP growth compared to the Aaa-rated median (1.3% vs. 1.9%) and the medium-to-long term challenges related to unfavorable demographic trends and to the German car sector due to harsher environmental standards, trade tensions and possible disruptions caused by new technologies and emerging competitors.The German economy is the world's fourth largest economy and the EU's largest. With respect to wealth, Germany ranks in the top 12% globally as measured by GDP per-capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Germany is also a highly competitive economy with respect to its large industrial sector. The economy benefits from an ample base of family-owned small and medium-sized, export-led companies ('Mittelstand'). These companies frequently rank as world leaders in their niche markets and form the backbone of Germany's strong industrial sector. The high diversification of German exports by goods and destinations offer a high resilience to regional or goods-specific shocks. Germany scores well in indicators measuring productivity. This can be highlighted by very high scores in World Economic Forum (WEF) Infrastructure and WEF Innovation.SECOND DRIVER: EXCEPTIONAL DEBT AFFORDABILITY OFFSETS THE IMPACT OF THE SIGNIFICANT INCREASE OF PUBLIC DEBTThe second driver of today's rating action is based on Germany's exceptional debt affordability that offsets the impact of rising public debt with respect to Moody's assessment of fiscal strength. Germany's public debt has significantly increased as a result of both the deep recession and the deployment of sizeable support packages to soften the COVID-19 shock. The increase in general government debt by 9.5 percentage points to reach 69.1% of GDP in 2020 is similar to the average increase of Aaa-rated sovereigns. Germany entered the pandemic with favorable fiscal metrics, including positive fiscal balances between 2012 and 2019 that provided the government with ample room for maneuver. By year-end 2020, the country's debt-to-GDP remains 13.2 percentage points below the peak of 2010.Moody's expects the rebound in GDP growth and phasing out of the support measures will allow for a reduction of the debt-to-GDP ratio to 67.0% in 2022. In addition, Moody's expects that Germany will begin its fiscal consolidation process and compliance with both the EU's and its own fiscal rules again in 2022, upon expiration of the escape clauses relied on in 2020 and 2021. Among the Aaa-rated sovereigns, Moody's only expects the debt-to GDP ratio to decrease by 2022 compared to 2020 in Germany, Denmark (Aaa stable) and Norway (Aaa stable).The ongoing, favourable debt-affordability trend of Germany offsets the impact of the temporary increase in public debt on Moody's assessment of fiscal strength. Debt affordability metrics assume a greater importance in Moody's assessment of a reserve currency country's fiscal strength. Safe-haven flows and the ECB's expansionary monetary policy have further contributed to an improvement of the already-strong funding conditions. The government's bonds benefit from record low yields with the whole yield curve out to 30 years in negative territory. As a result, Moody's expects debt affordability -- as measured by interest payments relative to revenue -- will improve in 2020 and thereafter to an average of 1.1% in 2021-22 from 1.7% in 2019 and an average of 3.6% over the past 10 years.THIRD DRIVER: VERY HIGH STRENGTH OF INSTITUTIONS AND GOVERNANCEThe third driver of today's rating action is based on Germany's very high strength of German institutions and overall governance. The country's institutions rank among the strongest and most transparent globally. In Moody's view, the effectiveness of Germany's fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic policies is very high. Germany's public finances are subject to various national rules such as the debt brake as well as various European rules. The government has a strong track record demonstrating commitment to those rules as evidenced during the European debt crisis.Germany has proved its ability to absorb very large structural shocks and demonstrated its ability to reverse debt trends on several occasions like during reunification, the low-growth environment in the early 2000s, the global financial and euro area debt crises. For example, the debt-to-GDP ratio of Germany decreased by 22.7 percentage points between the peak in 2010 and 2019 which was the strongest debt reduction among Aaa-rated sovereigns.Germany is part of the European Monetary Union and has the largest capital contribution to the European Central Bank's (ECB) capital. Low and stable inflation expectations underpin the European Central Bank's monetary policy credibility. However, the ECB's expansionary policy in recent years has increased financial stability risks given Germany's position in the business cycle.The quality of legislative and executive institutions in Germany is very high. This is reflected in a very strong scoring globally in the Worldwide Governance Indicators for government effectiveness and regulatory quality. The quick actions and well-designed support measures of the government aimed at limiting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medium-term growth also demonstrate the very high quality of Germany's legislative and executive institutions.Moody's assessment of civil society and the judiciary is also robust as Germany actively supports civil society engagement and has a robust legal framework that complies with international standards and effective access to justice. Law enforcement is highly predictable and consistent. This is reflected in Germany's favorable position in the Worldwide Governance Indicators for rule of law, control of corruption as well as voice and accountability.RATIONALE FOR STABLE OUTLOOKThe stable outlook on Germany's Aaa rating reflects Moody's view that downside risks to Germany's very strong credit profile, which include the sizeable coronavirus' contraction impact, are effectively mitigated by its high economic strength, very favorable fiscal metrics, and the capacity of the country's institutions to manage shocks and to address long-term challenges, including rising demographic pressures.ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL, GOVERNANCE CONSIDERATIONSGermany's positive (CIS-1) ESG Credit Impact Score reflects low exposure to environmental and social risks as well as very strong governance. Moreover, Germany's capacity to respond to costly environmental hazards or social demands is very high. This is based on Germany's very high resilience score based on the country's high-income levels, very large fiscal capacity and very high quality of governance.The E issuer profile score is neutral to low (E-2), reflecting low exposure to environmental risks across all categories. Moody's views that large industrial sectors such as automobile are susceptible to carbon transition risks, though headway has been made in pursuit and adoption of green technology.Moody's assesses Germany's S issuer profile score as neutral to low (S-2) reflecting low exposure to social risks across most categories and with particularly strong scorings in health & safety and access to basic service. In line with many advanced economies, Germany faces long-term economic and fiscal pressures from unfavorable demographic trends as highlighted by a decreasing working-age population and a relatively high dependency ratio. However, further labor immigration, an ongoing increase of the pension entry-age and Moody's expectation that the government will implement further measures to improve the long-term sustainability of the pension system in the coming years will soften the negative impact of demographic trends on Germany's credit profile. The gradual increase of the statutory pension entry age to 67 years from 65, which started in 2012, will be completed in 2029.Germany's very strong institutions and governance profile support its rating, as captured by a positive G issuer profile score (G-1).GDP per capita (PPP basis, US$): 56,226 (2019 Actual) (also known as Per Capita Income)Real GDP growth (% change): 0.6% (2019 Actual) (also known as GDP Growth)Inflation Rate (CPI, % change Dec/Dec): 1.5% (2019 Actual)Gen. Gov. Financial Balance/GDP: 1.5% (2019 Actual) (also known as Fiscal Balance)Current Account Balance/GDP: 7.1% (2019 Actual) (also known as External Balance)External debt/GDP: 144.2% (2019 Actual)Economic resiliency: aa1Default history: No default events (on bonds or loans) have been recorded since 1983.On 26 January 2021, a rating committee was called to discuss the rating of the Germany, Government of. The main points raised during the discussion were: The issuer's economic fundamentals, including its economic strength, have not materially changed. The issuer's institutions and governance strength have not materially changed. The issuer's fiscal or financial strength, including its debt profile, has not materially changed. The issuer's susceptibility to event risks has not materially changed.FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OR DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGSWHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING DOWNGermany's Aaa government bond rating would come under downward pressure if Moody's was to observe a material and prolonged deterioration in its economic strength. Such an erosion could result from failure to address rising demographic challenges, as well as from competitive pressures, in particular on the automotive sector, caused by new competitors, trade tensions, environmental regulation and technological change.Additionally, the rating could come under pressure in the event of a sharp increase in the government debt burden which Moody's deemed as unlikely to be reversed.Separately, a perception of euro-area fragmentation prompted by negative developments in a core euro area country would be credit negative for all euro area member countries and would also exert pressure on Germany's rating.The principal methodology used in these ratings was Sovereign Ratings Methodology published in November 2019 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1158631. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.The weighting of all rating factors is described in the methodology used in this credit rating action, if applicable.REGULATORY DISCLOSURESThe List of Affected Credit Ratings announced here are a mix of solicited and unsolicited credit ratings. Additionally, the List of Affected Credit Ratings includes additional disclosures that vary with regard to some of the ratings. Please click on this link https://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_ARFTL439415 for the List of Affected Credit Ratings. This list is an integral part of this Press Release and provides, for each of the credit ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the following items: • EU Endorsement Status • UK Endorsement Status • Rating Solicitation • Issuer Participation • Participation: Access to Management• Participation: Access to Internal Documents • Disclosure to Rated Entity • Lead Analyst • Releasing Office For further specification of Moody's key rating assumptions and sensitivity analysis, see the sections Methodology Assumptions and Sensitivity to Assumptions in the disclosure form. Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions can be found at: https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_79004.For ratings issued on a program, series, category/class of debt or security this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series, category/class of debt, security or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.Moody's general principles for assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in our credit analysis can be found at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1243406.At least one ESG consideration was material to the credit rating action(s) announced and described above.Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating. Heiko Peters Vice President - Senior Analyst Sovereign Risk Group Moody's Deutschland GmbH An der Welle 5 Frankfurt am Main 60322 Germany JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456 Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454 Alejandro Olivo MD-Sovereign/Sub Sovereign Sovereign Risk Group JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376 Client Service: 1 212 553 1653 Releasing Office: Moody's Deutschland GmbH An der Welle 5 Frankfurt am Main 60322 Germany JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456 Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454 © 2021 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.CREDIT RATINGS ISSUED BY MOODY'S CREDIT RATINGS AFFILIATES ARE THEIR CURRENT OPINIONS OF THE RELATIVE FUTURE CREDIT RISK OF ENTITIES, CREDIT COMMITMENTS, OR DEBT OR DEBT-LIKE SECURITIES, AND MATERIALS, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND INFORMATION PUBLISHED BY MOODY’S (COLLECTIVELY, “PUBLICATIONS”) MAY INCLUDE SUCH CURRENT OPINIONS. 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