S&P says U.S. ratings are "unsolicited"

NEW YORK Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:27pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's on Thursday said it was converting all U.S. sovereign ratings to "unsolicited" to make clear it does not have an agreement with the government.

The action doesn't change S&P's view of the credit-worthiness of the United States, which will retain its triple-A rating with a stable outlook, it said in a statement.

With the move, S&P is bringing the U.S. sovereign ratings in line with European legislation which demand ratings agencies make clear whether they have an agreement with the companies or countries they are rating.

S&P will continue to rate the United States based on public information, and the evaluation process may also involve the participation of government officials, it said.

"We believe that we have access to sufficient public information of reliable quality to support our analysis and ongoing surveillance," S&P said, adding that there is "significant" market interest in the U.S. government ratings.

S&P said it will withdraw all ratings on individual U.S. government issues but will keep the country's issuer ratings.

(Reporting by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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