News / Economy

Rating Agency Downgrades US Credit Outlook

Rating Agency Downgrades US Credit Outlook
Rating Agency Downgrades US Credit Outlook

Standard and Poor's Ratings Services announced Monday that the United States continues to have a AAA [Triple-A] credit rating, but the rating agency lowered its long-term credit outlook for the U.S. government. S&P cited U.S. budget deficits and government indebtedness as causes for concern.

According to Standard and Poor's, the United States is among 19 sovereign nations that hold a AAA credit rating, signifying that the country is among the most credit-worthy nations.
But S&P has concerns, prompting the agency to lower its long-term credit outlook for the U.S. government from "stable" to "negative," indicating that a change in the country's credit rating might be on the horizon.
David Beers, the global head of sovereign ratings at Standard & Poor's, spoke to reporters via teleconference.

"A negative outlook means that in S&P's opinion, there is at least a one in three chance that over roughly the next two years, that we could lower the rating," said Beers. "It also means, conversely, that there is, in the committee's opinion, a two-thirds chance that the rating might not change."   

Standard and Poor's says the U.S. economy is flexible and highly diversified, and that the nation's monetary policies effectively support output growth, while containing inflation.  But the agency warned that relative to its peers with the same AAA rating, the United States has what S&P considers to be very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness.

The U.S. debt limit is more than $14 trillion, and the United States is on course to hit that figure in a matter of weeks.  Under U.S. law, the Treasury Department cannot borrow more money unless Congress gives its approval by increasing the limit on borrowing.

Lawmakers are debating whether to raise the debt ceiling as they consider the federal budget.  Earlier this month, a government shutdown loomed as Congress wrangled over a budget that was supposed to have been set last September.  

Standard and Poor's says the United States has not presented a clear strategy to address the nation's long-term deficits and indebtedness.  

S&P analyst Nikola Swann says that in the wake of the recent financial crisis, lawmakers have yet to agree on ways to address longer-term financial pressures and ways to reverse fiscal deterioration.

"If the Congress and the president do not succeed in coming to an agreement for a plan to consolidate fiscally on a multi-year basis that we think is credible by 2013, in that circumstance, with other things unchanged, we would expect to downgrade," said Swann.

AAA is the highest credit rating.  If the U.S. rating is downgraded, it could become more expensive for the United States to borrow money.    

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the agency's decision to revise the outlook serves as a notice to lawmakers.

"A reminder that it is important that we reach agreement on fiscal reform is always valuable, and that's essentially what it is," said Carney. "It is another indication of the importance of both sides coming together and grappling with this problem and getting to a resolution."

Standard and Poor's says it believes there is a significant risk that lawmakers might not agree on a medium-term fiscal strategy before the 2012 national elections.

Carney said the administration believes that the political process will outperform S&P's expectations.   

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7768
JPY
USD
108.84
GBP
USD
0.6124
CAD
USD
1.0999
INR
USD
61.042

Rates may not be current.