While Brazil's stellar recovery in global debt markets and Mexico's domestic-darling status has re-centered attention on the big boys of the region, a pair of credits from small Caribbean countries are in a bit of trouble. Last week, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the US$4.5 million B-tranche of a total US$44.5 million deal issued by the Belize Mortgage Company in April 2002. The piece is now at Ba3' from Ba2' originally. The move comes after the agency cut the sovereign to Ba3', citing an escalation of debt in the wake of an expansionary mode. Now that the government is pursuing restrictive policies, the rating should stabilize, the agency said. The government guarantees the junior tranche.

Fitch Ratings has so far kept that piece of the deal at BB'. Enjoying a surety from Steadfast Insurance Company, the A tranche is rated A3' and A' by Moody's and Fitch, respectively. Steadfast is a fully owned subsidiary of Zurich America Insurance Company.

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