SINGAPORE, Oct 17 (IFR) - Chinese rating agency Dagong has downgraded the United States to A- from A and maintained a negative outlook on the sovereign’s credit.
The agency suggested that, while a default has been averted by a last minute agreement in Congress, the fundamental situation of debt growth outpacing fiscal income and GDP remains unchanged. “Hence the government is still approaching the verge of default crisis, a situation that cannot be substantially alleviated in the foreseeable future,” Dagong said in a press release.
Dagong’s ratings are hardly followed outside of China. The agency also classifies most countries it follows very differently from major agencies such as Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch.
For instance, like the major agencies, Dagong rates Norway Triple A. However, the US was rated A and the United Kingdom has an A+ rating with Dagong, while Moody’s for one, has the UK at and the US at Aaa, the highest level on the New York-based agency’s scale.
Yet, the Chinese agency is not alone in pointing out that the creditworthiness of the United States is not as good as it once was. Yesterday, Fitch put the Triple A rating it gives to the US under negative watch.
In August 2011, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US to AA+ after a protracted debt ceiling debate in Congress brought the government to the verge of a shutdown.
Apart from the symbolic meaning of the downgrade, though, Dagong’s move is expected to have no effect on markets. (Reporting By Christopher Langner)