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AIG Life's ratings reaffirmed, Global default rates hit low, BRIC companies dominate returns.

Monday, January 14th 2008, 5:26AM
Standard & Poor's has affirmed its AA long-term counterparty rating on American International Group and its AA+ counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on AIG's core operating subsidiaries, including AIG Life in New Zealand.

Global default rates hit low
Moody's says the global default rate on speculative grade investments has fallen in 2007, but expects it to rise this year.

It says the default rate has drifted down from 1.7% a year ago to 0.9% at the end of 2007.

"The global default rate is now at its lowest level since December 1981 when it stood at 0.7%," Moodys says.

"We believe December 2007 likely marks the low point of the current default rate cycle as several issuers have missed interest payments in recent weeks, which should translate into upward pressure on default rates as the 30-day grace periods on these issuers' bonds expire and they become actual defaulters," Moody's Director of Corporate Default Research Kenneth Emery says.

Moody's forecasts the global speculative-grade default rate will rise sharply to 4.8 % by the end of this year. By the end of 2009, it forecasts the rate will reach its historical average of 5%.

BRIC companies show growth
Indian companies have dominated the Russell Investment Group's list of the Top 100 global stocks for 2007.

An analysis of the global indexes shows 41 Indian companies in the list and five of the top six, as measured on total return (US$).

Russell's New Zealand managing director, Ed Schuck, says that the top 12 stocks are smaller companies in terms of market capitalisation.

But the overall result reflects the growth of the BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Schuck says 48 of the stocks are in BRIC countries and only six are in the United States.

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ANZ 5.19 4.15 4.09 4.49
ANZ Special - 3.65 3.59 3.99
ASB Bank 5.20 4.15 4.09 4.39
ASB Bank Special - 3.65 3.59 3.89
BNZ - Classic - 3.65 ▼3.54 3.99
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.90 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 5.35 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 5.30 4.45 4.35 4.55
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.30 - - -
China Construction Bank 5.50 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 3.19 3.19 3.19
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Credit Union Auckland 5.95 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 6.15 4.95 4.95 -
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
Credit Union South 6.45 - - -
Finance Direct - - - -
First Credit Union 5.85 - - -
Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 4.80 4.95 -
Housing NZ Corp 5.19 ▼4.15 ▼4.09 ▼4.39
HSBC Premier 5.24 3.35 3.35 3.35
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.65 3.85 3.95 3.89
Kiwibank 5.80 4.30 4.34 4.74
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.15 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 3.55 3.59 3.99
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Napier Building Society - - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.70 4.69 4.79 -
Resimac 5.30 4.86 4.14 4.19
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
RESIMAC Special - - - -
SBS Bank 5.29 4.85 5.05 5.49
SBS Bank Special - 3.69 3.69 3.99
Sovereign 5.30 4.15 4.29 4.55
Sovereign Special - 3.65 3.75 4.05
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.15 3.65 3.59 3.99
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.15 4.15 4.09 4.49
TSB Bank 6.09 4.65 4.59 4.85
TSB Special 5.29 3.85 3.79 4.05
Wairarapa Building Society 5.70 4.85 4.99 -
Westpac 5.34 4.15 4.09 4.49
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Westpac - Offset 5.34 - - -
Westpac Special - 3.65 3.59 3.99
Median 5.35 4.15 4.09 4.19

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