OpinionPoliticsState Capture

Rating agencies are tools of economic warfare

By Pinky Khoabane


A view shows the Standard & Poor's building in New York's financial district February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A view shows the Standard & Poor’s building in New York’s financial district February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

If you’ve questioned the notion that today’s warfare will not be fought on the battlefields but in the passages of corporations which control the global financial systems, then yesterday’s assault on South Africa’s political and economic sovereignty should be enough to open your eyes.

Rating agency Standard & Poor Rating Services yesterday downgraded South Africa to junk status citing President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle last week as the reason. Zuma fired former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and replaced him with Malusi Gigaba. The rating agency said the reshuffle had placed policy continuity at risk. S&P was scheduled to make its decision on June 2 but decided to bring it forward by months. Gigaba was not given a chance to even show or dispel his stated commitment upon his appointment that the government would continue to work with rating agencies.

The other rating agency, Moody’s also placed SA’s credit rating on review for a downgrade yesterday.

These two rating agencies are nothing but fraudsters who wield the immense powers given them to force countries to tow-the-line of the global financial empires of the US and London. They are paid by Wall Street banks. In February 2015, media reports said S&P had agreed to pay $1.5 billion to settle US civil charges that it had lied to investors in order to bolster profits. From 2004 to 2007, S&P falsely claimed its ratings of mortgage securities and collateralised debt obligations were objective and independent. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2015/02/03/standard-poors-settlement-fcc/22788653/

In January 2017, Moody’s agreed to pay $864 million on charges that it inflated ratings of risky mortgage investments. It too had lied to investors. During the investigation into the 2008 financial crash, Moodys acknowledged it had not followed its own standards in rating the risk of securities backed by home mortgages https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/business/moodys-inflated-ratings-inquiry.html?_r=0

The other rating agency, Fitch, was also cited as having manipulated ratings, giving low risk ratings to the highly risky mortgage securities. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/business/the-stone-unturned-credit-ratings.html

It’s quite clear these institutions are not to be trusted, are not independent and even more concerning, are profit driven. They will lie to push profit, shareholding but there exists a troubling conflict of interest – they are paid by the “very issuers whose securities they are rating,” the NewYork Times reported.

A mountain of evidence gathered for a lawsuit by two law firms shows that these two rating agencies “have been shameless tools of the banks willing to give just about anything a high rating in exchange for cash” according to the Rolling Stone. In incriminating emails, the executives of these rating agencies show just how much of crooks they are: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-last-mystery-of-the-financial-crisis-20130619?print=true

“Lord help our fucking scam….this has to be the stupidest place I have worked at,” writes one S&P executive.

“As you know, I had difficulties explaining “HOW” we got to those numbers since there is no science behind it,”  confesses a high-ranking S&P analyst.

The emails go on to tell a story of the collusion between banks, hedge funds, mortgage lenders and rating agencies, to sell worthless loans at the prime AAA rating.

And so here we are in our country being held to ransom by these clear thugs – rating agencies. All of them are American based and get paid by Wall Street banks which they claim to evaluate objectively. You don’t have to think too deeply why the US credit rating isn’t under threat given the policies of the newly-elected President Donald Trump.

We need no longer be held at gunpoint or go to the battlefield with guns to stage regime change but we are dealing with a much more fearsome instrument – which with a purely subjective decision – can decide the fate of a country.

The Onslaught on BRICS

SA has been under attack as part of the global campaign to destabilise the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), established as part of the developing nations’  decision to come-together and build political and economic partnerships. The first leg of the campaign has been successfully implemented in the assault and regime change of the legitimately elected government of former President Dilma Rouseff.

In SA, the campaign is a multi-pronged campaign including media, Western-sponsored opposition parties and non-governmental agencies (NGOs) who are working together and leading protests whose real motive is toppling a legitimately elected government.


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  1. There’s a critical point omitted on how these rating agencies ignore the economic case of each country and weigh heavily on political leadership above all.

    South Africa has a 50% debt-to-GDP ratio whilst the USA sits at levels above 90%. How on earth can a technically insolvent state possess the highest credit rating of any nation on this planet? In fact, the USA has to borrow to avoid default. There are way too many flaws in how countries are rated by these biased agencies.

    How can you downgrade a state that didn’t have a budget deficit in the last financial year? It seems we place to much value in the opinions of external institutions instead of conducting deep introspection of our underutilized capacity. South African companies are currently sitting with R750 billion in cash reserves, for what?

  2. its interesting that such information is not published yet the other side of coin is…im nt certain if the media is biased or they just lack information…little info is dangerous

    1. Dear Tshepo

      We must understand commercial media for what it is. It has always protected its masters who are corporations. But in SA it has also taken the role of opposition. It is not about to expose the rating agencies whose role is to ensure that countries around the world dance to the tune of the US/Anglo financial empire.

      They know this information very well but choose to ignore it.

      And that is exactly why we spend our time focusing on such stories.



  3. “Economic Warfare Indeed”
    We will not be deterred nor misguided nor mislead by any Grading Agencies nor WMC nor West or East.

    We have a clear view of where we are and a clear vision of where we want to be. We are the masters of our own destination in Africa
    “Junk status has been part of us for decades and we survived and will continue to,till we are fully economically liberated from slavery of Colonialism & its predecessor Apartheid regime, which is long overdue.

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