South Korea was given its third debt rating upgrade in less than three weeks as Standard & Poor’s raised it one step to A+, citing a lower risk on the Korean peninsula after a “smooth” change in leadership in North Korea.
Bloomberg reported Friday that South Korea’s new rating is the fifth highest S&P gives, only a single notch below those of China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. Fitch Ratings has put South Korea at AA-, the agency’s fourth highest rating, and Moody’s Investors Service has graded it at Aa3, also its fourth highest.
After the upgrade the won rose, hitting its strongest level since March 2 both on that news and word from the U.S. Federal reserve on a third round of quantitative easing. On Thursday the Bank of Korea had announced that it was leaving interest rates unchanged, but the rise in the country’s currency may push it to act.