By Marc Jones
FRANKFURT – On January 13, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services cut the credit ratings of nine eurozone countries, stripping France and Austria of their triple-A status and ringing alarm bells in global financial markets about the region’s financial health.
The move swung the spotlight onto key figures at the ratings agencies who make those decisions. Their snap upgrades or downgrades of a country’s debt influence entire nations’ borrowing costs and can even decide whether investors will lend to them at all.
Moritz Kraemer, the lead analyst in S&P’s European downgrades, has long toiled in obscurity and has avoided taking a big public profile as he monitors Europe’s next move from a Frankfurt office tower.
But his decisions have a huge impact. Since 2007, Kraemer and his team of little-known economists at S&P’s European sovereign debt team have downgraded eurozone countries 36 times.
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