The fallout from COVID-19 will linger beyond lockdowns for rated retail REITs, according to S&P Global Ratings senior director, corporate ratings, Craig Parker, and associate, corporate ratings, Rhys Corry. In Australasia, COVID-19 containment measures are eroding retail REIT earnings and reducing asset value amid unprecedented structural disruption.
S&P Global Ratings revised the outlooks on 17 Australian financial institutions to positive from stable on 27 April based on its view that the Australian banking industry risk trend – within its banking industry country risk assessment – is now positive. The improved outlook notably excludes the big-four banks, however, given their close ties to a negative sovereign outlook.
In the second of two roundtables exploring corporate sectors on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis, in November 2020 KangaNews and Westpac Institutional Bank hosted issuers and analysts from the Australian REIT sector to talk about pandemic fallout. The conversation covered crisis response and the new shape of the sector in future, including the likely impact on individual property categories.
The challenging path back to budget balance rather than the first order impact of the second lockdown was behind S&P Global Ratings’ two-notch downgrade of the state of Victoria. The rating agency emphasised the long term in a 9 December webinar on its recent downgrades of Victoria and New South Wales (NSW).
On 7 December, S&P Global Ratings downgraded the states of Victoria, to AA from AAA, and New South Wales, to AA+ from AAA. S&P notes Victoria’s unusual two-notch downgrade is mainly due to the fallout from the state’s second wave of COVID-19 infections, which resulted in a substantial and prolonged lockdown.
Ratings across the sovereign and subsovereign sector have come under considerable strain during the COVID-19 era as governments seek to ensure the health and economic wellbeing of their citizens in an environment of falling revenue. Germany’s federal state of Baden-Württemberg, and its development agency L-Bank, provide a model for managing the fallout.