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I appreciated Business Day’s commentary on Moody’s “stay of execution”. Particularly useful was the reminder that the ratings agencies have made costly blunders in the past and are by no means infallible. The articles were therefore a corrective to the several weeks of speculation about possible downgrades, which now seem to have been unwarranted. This is not to say the findings by Moody’s are not important — they obviously have serious consequences. But what is puzzling is why we have so little information on these agencies, to establish whether they base their findings on objective research-based investigations. Do they have links to investment houses with their own interests at stake? How have these ratings agencies achieved their present dominance in global financial decision making? To whom are they accountable? I find it strange that the ratings agencies seem to have displaced the IMF from central stage when judgments are made about a country’s finances. There are abundant gro...

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