And the biggest loser was…Belgium
The largest downswing in the BlackRock Sovereign Risk Index over the past quarter was not Ukraine, despite the annexation of its Crimea region and Russian troops on its borders, but Belgium.
Belgium, part of the euro zone’s core, fell four points in the index to 31st place, due to the amount of debt due this year. BlackRock says:
Its debt is becoming front-loaded, with about 16 percent of GDP in principal and interest due this year.
The Czech Republic and Poland are among countries with a better risk profile than Belgium, according to BlackRock’s index, whose measures include debt metrics, willingness to pay, exposure to foreign currency debt and the strength of the country’s banking system.
As for Ukraine, it dropped one notch to 46th out of 50, as unrest hurt its willingness to pay and external finance scores. Bringing up the rear are Egypt, Venezuela, and despite 10-year bond yields hitting four-year lows today, Greece. See the BlackRock graphic below: