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17 Aug 2010
France, Germany, UK and US face fiscal challenges but retain stable outlook
New York, August 17, 2010 -- The Aaa ratings of France, Germany, the UK and the US continue
to be well positioned based on a forward-looking assessment of
their debt dynamics and debt affordability, says Moody's Investors
Service in its quarterly "Aaa Sovereign Monitor" report.
However, the rating agency says that the challenges linked to fiscal
adjustments imply that the overall "distance-to-downgrade"
has been further reduced for each of these four countries. Spain
is a case apart, as reflected by Moody's decision to place
its Aaa rating on review for possible downgrade on 30 June.
"Since the last issue of Moody's Aaa Sovereign Monitor,
the debate on the optimal timing of fiscal tightening has effectively
been brought to a close for the largest European Aaa-rated governments,
as they are now all pursuing deficit reduction measures,"
says Alexander Kockerbeck, Vice President and Senior Credit Officer
in Moody's Sovereign Risk Group. "In the US,
a strategy for debt stabilization is still in the early stages of being
Moody's believes that large Aaa governments are faced with a slightly
different set of challenges from those they faced only a few months ago.
- The first challenge is to revive growth (and the associated tax
revenues) at a time when macro-fiscal tools -- i.e.
fiscal stimuli -- are effectively no longer available. The
emphasis is therefore likely to shift towards micro-economic policy
tools, aiming, for instance, at expanding labour supply
and hence output.
- The second challenge is to regain or preserve access to affordable
funding through credible medium-term fiscal adjustment programmes.
In a context of brittle market confidence, this is a necessary,
albeit not sufficient, prerequisite for large Aaa governments,
particularly in Europe, to maintain control over debt dynamics.
- Lastly, a further consequence of the crisis is the reduced
time available for governments to confront medium- and long-term
fiscal challenges, particularly those resulting from the ageing
of their populations. As discussed in a Special Focus section in
Moody's new report, such reforms are critical to the ability
of fiscally challenged Aaa governments to maintain their credit ratings.
This issue of Moody's Aaa Sovereign Monitor report analyzes the
challenges facing the Aaa ratings of France, Germany, the
UK, the US and Spain with the help of detailed charts that illustrate
the "distance-to-downgrade", fiscal adjustment
sensitivity, interest rate sensitivity and nominal growth sensitivity.
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Frankfurt am Main
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Moody's Comments on Aaa-Rated Sovereigns As Fiscal Adjustments Are Accelerated
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