Finance Unfazed

Editor Andrea Fiano's monthly letter to you, the reader.

NOVEMBER 2020 | VOL. 34  NO. 10

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In this issue, we present for a record 29th year in a row our annual ranking of the safest banks in the world.

We fully expected, given the year’s upheavals—the Covid pandemic, negative growth for most countries—that we would see dramatic changes in these safety ratings compared to prior years. Strangely, it wasn’t so. Ratings downgrades, and therefore in rankings, were quite contained. Several banks, particularly the European ones with implicit support of their governments, maintained AAA ratings, and it is hard to see any new regional trend.

We hope it is a sign of relative stability and strength of the banking system worldwide. At the same time, we wonder if perhaps the ratings are a lagging indicator. Will we see more downgrades in the next 12 months? Our large coverage in this issue shows that in emerging markets, and even more so in frontier markets, rating changes have been more accentuated than in advanced economies. But for now at least, the banking system seems to be holding up well in these tumultuous times.

Andrea Fiano | Editor