S&P Downgrades U.S. Credit Rating
- Saturday, August 06, 2011 11:06 AM
NEW YORK, USA - Standard & Poor's has lowered its long-term credit rating on the United States from AAA to AA+. It also says the outlook on the long-term rating is negative.
The S&P ratings agency says its action comes because of the prolonged controversy over raising the debt ceiling and other fiscal policy.
This is the first downgrade of the United States' rating since 1917. There was anxiety across the world's markets and this week was the worst week for the DOW and NASDAQ since the recession of 2008. Two other rating agencies, Moody's and Fitch still maintain the U.S. at AAA.
In July, S&P placed the United States' rating on "CreditWatch with negative implications" as the debt ceiling debate devolved into partisan bickering.
To avoid a downgrade, S&P said the United States needed to not only raise the debt ceiling, but also develop a "credible" plan to tackle the nation's long-term debt.
John Chambers, head of sovereign ratings for S&P, said the slowness at raising the debt ceiling and the political infighting led to its decision. In announcing the downgrade, S&P cited "political risks, rising debt burden; outlook negative."
S&P Press Release:
We have lowered our long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States of America to 'AA+' from 'AAA' and affirmed the 'A-1+' short-term rating.
We have also removed both the short- and long-term ratings from CreditWatch negative.
The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics.
More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.
Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics any time soon.
The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to 'AA' within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.