Downgraded. Again. Citing the most recent round of stimulus, the ratings agency Egan-Jones on Friday gave the U.S. a credit rating of AA-, down from its solid AA rating. Michael Aneiro at Barron’s notes that the downgrade comes three days after Egan-Jones “affirmed its AA rating for the U.S. but warned that further Fed stimulus could trigger a downgrade.” Thanks, Bernanke. The agency writes:
[T]he FED’s QE3 will stoke the stock market and commodity prices, but in our opinion will hurt the US economy and, by extension, credit quality. Issuing additional currency and depressing interest rates via the purchasing of MBS does little to raise the real GDP of the US, but does reduce the value of the dollar (because of the increase in money supply), and in turn increase the cost of commodities (see the recent rise in the prices of energy, gold, and other commodities). The increased cost of commodities will pressure profitability of businesses, and increase the costs of consumers thereby reducing consumer purchasing power. Hence, in our opinion QE3 will be detrimental to credit quality for the US…. From 2006 to present, the US’s debt to GDP rose from 66% to 104% and will probably rise to 110% a year from today under current circumstances; the annual budget deficit is 8%. In comparison, Spain has a debt to GDP of 68.5% and an annual budget deficit of 8.5%.
Also, will the stimulus help re-elect President Obama despite the terrible economy? Jim Pethokoukis and Ed Rendell weigh in:
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