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Fitch Cuts U.S. Credit Rating to AA+; Treasury Calls it ‘Arbitrary’

U.S. Capitol police stand outside the Capitol building as the Senate votes on debt ceiling legislation to avoid a historic default at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2023. REUTERS
U.S. Capitol police stand outside the Capitol building as the Senate votes on debt ceiling legislation to avoid a historic default at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2023. REUTERS

Rating agency Fitch on Tuesday downgraded the U.S. government's top credit rating, a move that drew an angry response from the White House and surprised investors, coming despite the resolution of the debt ceiling crisis two months ago.

Fitch downgraded the United States to AA+ from AAA, citing fiscal deterioration over the next three years and repeated down-the-wire debt ceiling negotiations that threaten the government’s ability to pay its bills.

Fitch had first flagged the possibility of a downgrade in May, then maintained that position in June after the debt ceiling crisis was resolved, saying it intended to finalize the review in the third quarter of this year.

With the downgrade, it becomes the second major rating agency after Standard & Poor’s to strip the United States of its triple-A rating.

The dollar fell across a range of currencies, stock futures ticked down and Treasury futures rose after the announcement. But several investors and analysts said they expected the impact of the downgrade to be limited.

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