The European ABS market continued to demonstrate depth and maturity in 2002, illustrated by a substantial increase in volume. The market saw approximately $130 billion by the end of 2002, according to reports, compared to just a few years ago when yearly ABS volume was less than $50 billion. And while the market had yet to weather a negative credit cycle, it nonetheless ducked the 2002 credit-crunch hook - proof of the stamina of European ABS structures.

"Over the last year we have witnessed poor economic conditions, natural disasters, the threat of war and terrorism, the decline of the stock markets and an increased rating volatility among banks and corporates," said analysts at Fitch Ratings. "Although this will be of solace to any investor who has suffered as a result of a rating watch or downgrade, the European securitization market is displaying resilience in the present difficult climate."

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