Moody's see few local govt downgrades after pensions review

NEW YORK, March 18 Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:41pm EDT

NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) - A review of U.S. state and local government pension systems to be completed by Moody's Investors Services in April will result in less than 2 percent of local governments being put under review for possible downgrade, Moody's said on Monday.

Moody's sought public comment last July on major changes it plans to make in how it treats pension liabilities. The credit ratings agency said that according to its estimate, the total liabilities for fiscal 2010 were more than three times the amount reported by local governments.

Moody's said it expects that no state ratings will be immediately affected by its pension adjustments.

"Among local governments, the rating agency expects that less than 2 percent of the total population of general obligation and equivalent ratings will be placed under review for possible downgrade," Moody's said.

"As pensions are just one of many factors Moody's considers in a rating, any rating changes resulting from the subsequent reviews are likely to be one or two notch downgrades."

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