The ratings agency Moody’s has issued a warning to banks across Canada that are struggling with the global financial crisis.
In its latest assessment of the financial health of Canadian banks, Moody’s said there are some areas where Canada’s big banks “are significantly worse than expected”.
Moody’s said it has been monitoring Canada’s financial sector for two decades and the country’s banks have “not done a particularly good job of adapting to a rapidly changing environment”.
It said the sector “needs to change dramatically” and its report said Canada’s banks should consider restructuring or shedding operations if the global economy does not improve.
Monsanto, for example, says its stock is undervalued by more than 20% while its credit rating is junk.
The report said the financial situation for some Canadian banks “is worse than they would be under the worst circumstances”.
“These companies are in a precarious position given the ongoing crisis, with no clear path forward for their financial institutions,” the report said.
In a statement, Moody said Canada has the lowest overall credit ratings for the global banking sector and Canada’s banking sector is vulnerable to the effects of the global downturn.
It said a “significant proportion of Canada’s public sector banks are undercapitalized and could be impacted by further adverse events”.
“We are deeply concerned by the continuing vulnerability of Canada as a financial center, which has led to a severe fiscal burden and a sharp decline in consumer spending,” Moody’s president and chief economist, Brian Crecente, said in a statement.
The U.S. has the third-highest rating for Canadian banks with AAA, which means it is rated triple-A.
The agency says Canada has some of the worst credit ratings in the world, with a total credit rating of negative 0.7.
The country has the second-highest rate of negative equity in the developed world, after the U.K., with a credit rating that is rated negative by Moody’s.
The ratings agencies have also said Canada does not have enough of a credit union system.
Moody’s also said there is little progress being made in Canada’s labour market.
“The Canada’s economic outlook remains negative,” Moody said in its report.
Canada’s financial institutions have been under intense pressure as a result of the economic meltdown, but Moody’s says the country is not at the “crisis point” as its economy has slowed to a crawl.
However, Moody says it believes the Canadian banking sector “continues to demonstrate significant potential to be more resilient to adverse events in the near term”.
For more information on the financial crisis, visit www.bankwatch.com.au/financial-market-disasters.html and http://www.financialdisastersca.ca/