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Fitch: We're not going to remove the US's AAA rating

Fitch and Moody’s say they’ll be letting Standard & Poor’s go on a solo run – with two of the three agencies refusing to downgrade.

Image: Ben+Sam via Flickr

RATINGS AGENCY FITCH has affirmed its AAA credit rating of the United States – leaving Standard & Poor’s as the only one of the three major credit ratings agencies to downgrade its rating of US debt.

Though Fitch had said two weeks ago that US debt was growing at a rate ‘not consistent’ with a AAA rating, today it said it was retaining the top ranking – and that it was also maintaining its ‘stable’ outlook for the future.

“The affirmation of the US ‘AAA’ sovereign rating reflects the fact that the key pillars of US’s exceptional creditworthiness remain intact: its pivotal role in the global financial system and the flexible, diversified and wealthy economy that provides its revenue base,” AFP quoted a Fitch statement as saying.

It added that it would revisit its current stance in November, when a Congressional committee set up as part of last month’s debt ceiling deal makes its first efforts at tackling the US’s budget deficit.

Fitch will review its expectations for US economic growth, as well as its projections for the growth in US national debt, once that committee had drawn up its proposals to cut $1.5trn from the Budget this year.

Those two factors had been critical in persuading S&P to issue its own downgrade of US debt on August 5, when it took its rating of the US down one notch from AAA to AA+.

Fitch said that if it was to take negative action by then, however, it was probably going to revise the US outlook to ‘negative’, rather than give US debt a full-blown downgrade as S&P had.

The Wall Street Journal added that Moody’s had affirmed its own AAA rating earlier this month, though it had put the US on a ‘negative’ outlook.

Read: How did ratings agencies become so powerful? Trains and recessions, that’s how >

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Gavan Reilly

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