S&P says U.S. public finance rating trends positive, despite Detroit

WASHINGTON Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:23pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rating trends across the U.S. public finance sector were "decidedly positive" in the second quarter, despite the default by Detroit, Standard & Poor's Ratings Service said in a report showing that its upgrades of municipal debt outpaced downgrades.

The credit ratings agency said that it upgraded 194 ratings and only downgraded 94 during the second quarter - the third straight quarter in which municipal debt upgrades outpaced downgrades.

It added that Detroit, Michigan, which recently filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, accounted for five of the seven defaults in the quarter. Fritch, Texas, and West Penn Allegheny Healthy System in Pennsylvania also defaulted on their debt.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, additional reporting by Caryn Trokie in New York)

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