Sandy ratings fallout mostly done, Moody's says
Dec 19 (Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service expects to take few further negative credit ratings actions against local government borrowers battling back from superstorm Sandy beyond a handful announced this week, the Wall Street credit agency said on Wednesday.
Moody's, which reviewed 150 municipal bond issuers in the region hit six weeks ago by the storm, has cut its credit rating for New Jersey's Borough of Seaside Heights, revised outlooks to negative for four other issuers, and put five more on review for possible ratings downgrades.
"We believe the U.S. public finance sector as a whole will manage well through the storm's short- and long-term effects, Moody's said in a commentary. "Other than the 10 negative actions taken this week, we anticipate few ratings or outlooks to change as a result of the storm."
In addition to the 10 negative actions, Moody's in its review affirmed 10 existing ratings, including negative outlooks on four.
Most rebuilding costs will be covered by insurance, federal aid and other government resources, Moody's said.
But delays beyond a year or shortfalls in anticipated levels of federal disaster-relief payouts might eventually pressure the ratings of many local governments stung by Sandy, Moody's said.
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