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Rating Through-the-Cycle; What does the Concept Imply for Rating Stability and Accuracy?

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  • John Kiff
  • Michael Kisser
  • Liliana B Schumacher

Abstract

Credit rating agencies face a difficult trade-off between delivering both accurate and stable ratings. In particular, its users have consistently expressed a preference for rating stability, driven by the transactions costs induced by trading when ratings change frequently. Rating agencies generally assign ratings on a through-the-cycle basis whereas banks' internal valuations are often based on a point-in-time performance, that is they are related to the current value of the rated entity's or instrument's underlying assets. This paper compares the two approaches and assesses their impact on rating stability and accuracy. We find that while through-the-cycle ratings are initially more stable, they are prone to rating cliff effects and also suffer from inferior performance in predicting future defaults. This is because they are typically smooth and delay rating changes. Using a through-the-crisis methodology that uses a more stringent stress test goes halfway toward mitigating cliff effects, but is still prone to discretionary rating change delays.

Suggested Citation

  • John Kiff & Michael Kisser & Liliana B Schumacher, 2013. "Rating Through-the-Cycle; What does the Concept Imply for Rating Stability and Accuracy?," IMF Working Papers 13/64, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/64
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    1. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1988. "Permanent and Temporary Components of Stock Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 246-273, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cesaroni, Tatiana, 2015. "Procyclicality of credit rating systems: How to manage it," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 62-83.
    2. Jurevičienė Daiva & Rauličkis Darius, 2016. "Identification of Indicators’ Applicability to Settle Borrowers’ Probability of Default," Economics and Culture, De Gruyter Open, vol. 13(1), pages 53-64, June.
    3. Broto, Carmen & Molina, Luis, 2016. "Sovereign ratings and their asymmetric response to fundamentals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 206-224.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit ratings; Credit rating agencies; Credit rating migration; credit rating; credit risk; General; Government Policy and Regulation;

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