Jan 22 - In 2012, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services downgraded 702 issuers and upgraded 380 issuers, said an article published today by Standard & Poor's Global Fixed Income Research, titled "Global Downgrades Prevailed In 2012; Downgrades Expected To Worsen In Europe In 2013." The downgraded entities had a total of $7.3 (EUR5.45) trillion in rated debt, and the upgraded entities accounted for $1.3 billion (EUR972 million). The significant volume in downgrades reflected the large sovereign downgrades in Europe--the Kingdom of Spain (in the first, second, and fourth quarters) and the Republic of Austria, Republic of France (unsolicited ratings), Hellenic Republic of Greece, and Republic of Portugal (in the first quarter)--and the subsequent downgrades of European banks and large financial institutions. "Looking ahead, we expect the continued recession in Europe to place additional pressure on ratings in 2013 as measured by the region's higher-than-average negative bias," said Diane Vazza, head of Standard & Poor's Global Fixed Income Research. "Other regions, notably the U.S., have significantly below-average negative biases, which suggest more stable credit quality over the course of the year." In fourth-quarter 2012, there were 206 downgrades and 79 upgrades. The downgraded issuers had a total of $2.2 (EUR1.65) trillion in rated debt, and the upgraded entities accounted for $171.5 (EUR128.4) billion in rated debt. By issuer count, downgrades accounted for 72% of all rating actions in the quarter, topping the previous quarter's three-year high of 71%. "Most of the rating actions in the fourth quarter were on non-U.S. issuers--a phenomenon that has only occurred three times in the data series' 18-year history" said Ms. Vazza. Temporary contact numbers: Diane Vazza (646) 752-5369; Mimi Barker (646) 784-1061 The report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal at www.globalcreditportal.com. If you are not a RatingsDirect subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-7280 or sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Ratings information can also be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site by using the Ratings search box located in the left column at www.standardandpoors.com.