S&P says U.S. public finance rating actions positive for 2012

WASHINGTON Wed Feb 6, 2013 1:13pm EST

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WASHINGTON Feb 6 (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's Ratings Service upgraded the ratings U.S. municipal bonds at a higher rate than downgrades in the final quarter of 2012, which helped push the full year into positive territory.

The ratio of upgrades to downgrades was 1.61-to-1, the agency said in a special report on Wednesday, adding there were no defaults on the municipal bonds it rates in the final quarter of 2012.

"With another year in the books, U.S. public finance again proved to be a relatively stable sector," it said, noting at the end of December, more than 40 percent of its public finance ratings were "AA-" or higher.

"Widely publicized concerns about credit quality throughout the sector notwithstanding, the actual degree of credit quality erosion in public finance during the past two years was minimal," it added.

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