S&P to give more transparency, details in new U.S. local ratings

WASHINGTON Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:50am EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's Ratings Service on Thursday released long-anticipated changes to its criteria for assessing the credit quality of local governments, saying it expects 60 percent of the 4,000 governments it evaluates to remain the same.

The agency also expects 30 percent of the ratings to rise under what it calls "an intuitive framework that guides the fundamental assessment of credit risk."

The new criteria will be more transparent than in the past and will also allow the agency to provide greater detail, S&P said. Of the seven factors it will use in its assessments, the economy will have the most weight, accounting for 30 percent of a government's credit score.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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