Despite a relatively flat performance to date in 2002, the European securitization market is expected to grow by 20% by the year’s end, buoyed by continuing strong investor appetite, according to Kurt Sampson, managing director of Standard & Poor’s Structured Finance Ratings group in Europe. Speaking at the annual global ABS conference in Barcelona, Sampson said that investors are still attracted to ABS because of their relatively strong performance vis-à-vis other sectors. ‘The asset-backed market continues to perform well despite the recent economic downturn,’ he said. ‘Most of the recent downgrades have been in the CDO sector as a result of corporate volatility and the rating movements were relatively small compared with other sectors.’ Volumes from January to mid-June stand at $44.0 billion compared with $48.7 billion over the same period last year. A total of 87 transactions closed versus 94 in 2001. Sampson added that issuance has dipped because some large-scale transactions have been delayed until the second half, and so a robust pipeline should put the market back on track to meet year-end growth expectations.
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