The world's economic recovery remains stalled five years after the global financial crisis and is likely to remain that way until 2017, international credit reporting agency Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) said.
More than 40 per cent of countries were rated a higher risk by Dun and Bradstreet than when the global economic recovery began in late 2009.
D&B's Global Risk Indicator (GRI), which provides a comparative, cross-border assessment of the political, commercial, economic and external risk of doing business in 132 countries, showed that 56 countries had their risk rating downgraded over the past three years while 23 countries were upgraded, showing an improvement.
The risk outlook for 32 countries was downgraded in 2012 alone, equating it to the third-largest number of downgrades in a calendar year since 1994 and only lower than the number of downgrades that occurred in 2009 and 2011.
Locally, New Zealand has not been downgraded since March 2011, and emerged from 2012 with a D&B rating of low risk, arising from a small degree of uncertainty associated with expected returns and a strengthened banking sector.
The agency said data indicated reconstruction in Canterbury following 2011's earthquake was expected to push economic growth higher.
D&B said that despite New Zealand's relative safety, its overall risk profile was classified as "deteriorating" owing to a decline in some export prices and a rise in the unemployment rate to a 13-year high of 7.3 per cent late last year.
For many other countries, recovery from the global financial crisis is proving to be even more challenging, particularly for those in the volatile eurozone, it said.
Stephen Koukoulas, D&B's economic adviser, said uncertainty would heavily impact developments this year.
"The hangover of the GFC means that in macroeconomic terms, sustained strong growth in the global economy is still some time off," he said.
"A period of fiscal consolidation will dampen the growth prospects in many countries in 2013."