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

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states 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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7798
JPY
USD
106.41
GBP
USD
0.6203
CAD
USD
1.1242
INR
USD
61.430

Rates may not be current.