Fitch: July statement points to late 2013 U.S. rating decision

NEW YORK Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:57am EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fitch Ratings on Thursday said it was sticking to a likely timeline for a late 2013 resolution on its rating for the United States that was laid out in a July statement.

Reuters contacted Fitch after rumors that the rating agency was set to downgrade the United States, the world's largest economy, rattled markets on Thursday.

"I can just refer you to our ... affirmation where we said that it was unlikely that we were going to resolve the rating or the outlook until late 2013," said Brian Bertsch, a company spokesman.

On July 10, Fitch said: "Absent material adverse shocks, Fitch does not expect to resolve the Negative Outlook until late 2013."

Fitch affirmed its AAA rating with a negative outlook on the United States in the July statement.

A negative outlook gives Fitch 12 to 18 months by which it is expected to make a decision on the U.S. sovereign credit, pushing a decision well beyond the upcoming presidential and congressional election cycle.

Moody's Investors Service rates the country Aaa with a negative outlook, and Standard & Poor's rates the country AA-plus with a negative outlook.

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama; and James Dalgleish)

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