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March 2011 Country Credit: Talking About A Revolution

Revolutions are, by their nature, awfully hard to predict. Our semiannual Country Credit survey reflects the heightened uncertainty.

A few months ago the idea that a Middle East leader like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak could be overthrown by a loose collection of youths and pro-­democracy demonstrators would have been laughable.

But then revolutions are, by their nature, awfully hard to predict. The Jasmine Revolution is just the latest in a series of upheavals — including the seemingly inexorable rise of emerging markets and the burgeoning debts that threaten decline in the West — that are challenging the way we look at the world.

Our semiannual Country Credit survey reflects the heightened uncertainty. Ratings are modestly higher, on balance, but analysts are voicing little conviction that things are getting better — and seeing significant risks that they might get worse. As Yogi Berra once said, “The future isn’t what it used to be.”

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