Fitch has placed its “AAA” U.S. credit rating on “rating watch negative,” a step that would precede an actual downgrade. The agency said it expects to conclude its review within the next six months. The firm says it expects the debt limit will be raised soon, but adds, “the political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default.”
“The prolonged negotiations over raising the debt ceiling (following the episode in August 2011) risks undermining confidence in the role of the U.S. dollar as the preeminent global reserve currency, by casting doubt over the full faith and credit of the U.S.,” Fitch said in laying out its reasons for the possible downgrade. “This ‘faith’ is a key reason why the U.S. ‘AAA’ rating can tolerate a substantially higher level of public debt than other ‘AAA’ sovereigns.”
Fitch is one of the three leading U.S. credit ratings agencies, along with Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. S&P downgraded U.S. long-term debt to “AA” in August 2011.
Full article: Fitch warns it may lower U.S. credit rating (CBS)