SOURCE: Alliant Emerging Markets

March 11, 2008 05:00 ET

Alliant Emerging Markets Publishes Annual Political & Economic Risk Ratings

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - March 11, 2008) - Alliant Emerging Markets published its annual political & economic risk ratings for 2008. Alliant's ratings cover seven risk categories in 177 countries and provide the most comprehensive set of political and trade credit risk ratings available.

Africa Top Performer in 2008

Africa received the largest number of ratings increases of any continent, with 46 risk ratings across 20 countries being upgraded to various levels. John Minor, Alliant Emerging Markets' Executive Vice President and Managing Director said: "The general perception because of countries such as Ecuador and Venezuela is that there's one trend and it's that political risk is increasing across the board. The real story is more complex. We're seeing ultra high risk countries where the risks keep going up, but we have entire regions, such as those 20 African countries, experiencing newfound stability and offering real opportunities for investors who know how to navigate and mitigate risks." Conal Duffy, Alliant Emerging Markets' Vice President, said: "The accelerated levels of foreign investment and trade we are seeing in Africa directly result from improved governance, strong economic growth, and maturing local capital markets and financial institutions. Particularly striking in this regard is that Africans are making large capital investments in their own countries, reversing many years of net capital outflows by Africans from the continent, as they increasingly appreciate that the risk environment has improved."

Trade Credit Defaults Point to General Emerging Markets Weakness

Alliant Emerging Markets expects trade credit default rates to increase by end of Q1 2008 and downgraded 21 risks in 17 countries. Dr. Michel Léonard, Alliant Emerging Markets' Chief Economist, said: "We're seeing a sharp reversal for markets that until mid-2007 seemed to have an infinite appetite for risk. What's meaningful for the larger markets is that trade credit receivable default rates tend to be about 3 to 6 months ahead of a country's bonds and credit markets. With trade credit defaults on the rise, we expect larger credit markets in those countries to show signs of severe stress."

Best & Worst of 2008

Djibouti, Tanzania and Togo all experienced a minimum of 4 ratings upgrades each. India, which avoided the downturn in the trade credit market, also topped Alliant's Best of 2008 list with twin trade credit and transfer risk ratings upgrades. Cameroon, South Africa, and Algeria made the top five of Alliant's list of Worst Performers with 5, 4 and 3 downgrades respectively. Also on Alliant's Worst Performers list were Brazil and Serbia.

Alliant Emerging Markets is the leading consultative political and credit risk brokerage group in the United States with offices in New York and Chicago. Alliant Emerging Markets is part of Alliant Insurance Services, a Blackstone Group company. Its clients include global corporations, banks, hedge funds, private equity and energy companies. Its principals bring more than 50 years of experience in risk intelligence, analysis and insurance.

2008 WATCH LIST

TOP 5
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1- Djibouti
2- Tanzania
3- Togo
4- India
5- Mauritania

BOTTOM 5
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1- South Africa
2- Cameroon
3- Algeria
4- Brazil
5- Serbia

To receive the full guide, schedule an interview, or receive more information, call Carol Beeley, at (312) 546-5603, or access Alliant Emerging Markets' home page on Bloomberg by typing ABEM. Alliant's guide is also available on Alliant's home page on Bloomberg.

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