Below we highlight the current 5-year CDS (credit default swap) prices for the sovereign debt of 44 countries. The list is sorted by the least to most risky countries, and we also include the year-to-date change for each country. As shown, Norway currently has the lowest default risk, followed closely behind by the USA. Switzerland, Finland, Sweden and Australia are the only other countries with CDS prices that are lower than 100 basis points.
At the bottom of the list is Greece, which has astronomical default risk. Portugal, Argentina and Venezuela rank 2nd, 3rd and 4th worst and all have CDS prices of more than 1,000 basis points.
G7 countries are shaded in light blue (unfortunately we do not have CDS prices for Canada). Italy has extremely high default risk for a G7 country at 571 basis points, which is why investors are so concerned about Europe. And France, which is supposedly a AAA country, also has very high default risk with its CDS trading at 261 basis points. France default risk is up 142% year to date.
We've been hearing a lot recently about how the US is the best place for investors to be right now, and this analysis buoys that claim.