AFP - France faced renewed pressure Friday to convince rattled markets it can deliver on debt targets and keep its prized triple-A credit rating after data showed economic growth skidding to a halt.
After the European Central Bank stepped in this week to buy government bonds of Italy and Spain, lowering their borrowing costs, the market turned its fire on France as rumours swirled about the solidity of its triple-A credit rating.
Both Fitch Ratings and Moody's, designated like S&P as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSRO) by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), retained the U.S.'s triple-A rating. Moody's, however, changed its outlook to negative on June 2, 2011, and Fitch changed its outlook to negative on November 28, 2011.
The U.S. government enjoys the highest credit rating ("AAA"/"Aaa") from two of the Big Three CRAs. The U.S. enjoyed the "gold standard" of triple-A ratings from all three agencies (Fitch, Moody's and S&P) from the time of their recognition as standards by the SEC until the S&P downgrade in early August 2011. 1e1e36bf2d