Fitch Says It’s Unlikely to Downgrade U.S. Before Elections

Friday, 04 May 2012 02:07 PM

By Dan Weil

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Paul Taylor, CEO of Fitch Ratings, says the agency probably won’t downgrade the U.S. government’s triple-A credit rating before the elections in November.

But all bets are off after that, thanks to the exploding budget deficit and debt burden, he tells CNBC. Fitch shifted its outlook on the United States to negative from stable last November amid concern about the deficit.

"We currently have the U.S. on a negative outlook, which actually suggests we think there is the potential for a downgrade," Taylor says. "It's too early to tell whether that will turn into an actual downgrade or not.”

Editor's Note: You Owe It to Yourself to Know What Obama and Bernanke Are Hiding From Americans

Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. government to double-A-plus from triple-A last August, setting off a two-month swoon by the stock market, though ironically Treasurys rallied.

As for Fitch, what happens during the election process and what policies are pursued afterward will play a large role in its decision of whether to downgrade, Taylor says.

“I think it's very clear that the U.S. does need to do something to deal with the debt problems built up since the financial crisis."

He also says the private sector must carry the ball if the U.S. economy is to sustain its recovery.

But Barry Eichengreen, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says the Federal Reserve must ease further.

It’s understandable that Fed policymakers are reluctant to do so, he tells Yahoo. “But they are the only adults in the room.”

Editor's Note: You Owe It to Yourself to Know What Obama and Bernanke Are Hiding From Americans



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