Credit rating agencies' decisions raise questions of credibility
by Daily Sabah with AA
ISTANBULJan 26, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with AA
Jan 26, 2017 12:00 am
Questions that raise doubts over the credibility of the U.S.-based "big three" rating agencies continue, amid claims that their decisions are largely influenced by political motives. Established in order to rate firms and countries in accordance with their capacity to meet debt obligations, these agencies have reportedly not fulfilled their responsibilities to form impartial and accurate assessments, and continue making biased and manipulative decisions. President of the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT), Arda Ermut, made a statement regarding the U.S.-based credit rating agency Fitch's Turkey assessment, to be released on Jan. 27. He said that credit rating agencies had identified the current account deficit and the slowdown in reforms as "weak spots" in their recent statements, stressing that Turkey has taken significant steps on these issues and come to a better position.
Suggesting that there is no problem in terms of the numbers on the issue of Fitch Ratings' assessment of Turkey, Ermut said: "I could easily say that I would not expect a downgrade in ratings if it was an assessment free from political influences. If the decision means a downgrade, then it will clearly be a political decision."
Pointing out that Turkey, which was given a negative rating by the assessment agency, has been able to pay its debts over the course of 20 years raises questions about how these credit rating agencies are performing their assessments, Ermut noted. He said that he does not expect any impact on foreign direct investment, meaning that Turkey is not a country that has fallen into any crisis, nor is suffering from public budgeting and cannot pay its debts, but on the contrary, is in a much better shape than most members of the European Union. "There is an active real sector in our country, which continues its investments while the state continues to invest, too. Many investments have been made in the field of infrastructure, and about $3 billion of investments was made in energy just last year. An important part of it was made by the public," Ermut said, to demonstrate that for a country capable of all this as well as attracting international investors, there is no reason for the credit rating to be downgraded.
Indicating that previous assessments were not made independent of political influence, Ermut said that in the "Envoys of the Business World" program, executives of American companies in Turkey told credit rating agencies that as important representatives of international capital, they manage many countries in the region from Turkey. They stressed that the agencies had not asked any of them for information while doing this assessment. "We have seen that this issue was noted seriously from the other side," he added.
Ermut recalled that international direct investors take long-term dynamics into consideration while making investment decisions and said that Turkey has very powerful features to attract investment, such as its geo-strategic position, demographic structure, relations with the surrounding countries, economic dynamism and political stability supported by effective leadership.
Any negative decision will have a negative impact on the point of perception but not a direct effect on foreign investment, he said. Given that they are in a position to only evaluate and not to invest, if credit rating agencies valued their money as real investors, then it would be possible to properly see where they would actually invest their money, Ermut noted. "We already have hope that these credit notes will be updated positively in accord with the stability that will be achieved in the regional sense next year. We hope that they will give Turkey a credit rating by evaluating it objectively, free from political influences and without haste," he said.