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Fitch Ratings made a momentous decision to downgrade the US long-term debt

August 2, 2023
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Late last night Fitch Ratings made a momentous decision to downgrade the US long-term debt from its coveted AAA rating to AA+. The downgrade was primarily attributed to the contentious debt ceiling standoff that occurred during the spring, which has raised serious concerns about the US government’s ability to fulfill its debt obligations in the future. This move comes as a heavy blow to the United States, given the pivotal role it plays in the global financial system.

The US dollar has long been regarded as the world’s primary reserve currency, with its credibility built on the assurance that the US government will consistently repay its debts. This unshakeable trust has made the US dollar the most widely held and accepted currency across international borders. However, with this downgrade, there is now a looming threat that the longstanding confidence in the US dollar may be compromised. The downgrade has the potential to undermine investor confidence and raise doubts about the US government’s commitment to its financial responsibilities, leading to complications in the global financial landscape.

Drawing on historical parallels, a similar debt ceiling standoff in 2011 resulted in the first-ever downgrade of US debt by Standard and Poor’s. The aftermath of that downgrade proved to be tumultuous, as the S&P 500 experienced a sharp plummet of 6.5% on the following trading day. The ensuing week was marked by extreme volatility, reminiscent of the tumultuous times during the global financial meltdown in 2008. It took an arduous six-month period for stocks to gradually recover and reclaim their previous highs, underscoring the far-reaching consequences of such credit rating actions.

Nonetheless, it is essential to acknowledge that past market performance does not guarantee future outcomes. Every situation is unique, and it remains uncertain how the current downgrade will ultimately unfold and impact the financial landscape. Market participants and investors are now left to navigate through a period of heightened uncertainty, as they carefully consider the potential ramifications of this downgrade on their investments, portfolios, and financial well-being.

The decision by Fitch Ratings to downgrade the US long-term debt from AAA to AA+ due to the debt ceiling standoff is a pivotal moment in the country’s financial history. The global financial system’s reliance on the US government’s commitment to repaying its debts has been challenged, potentially complicating the status of the US dollar as the world’s primary reserve currency. While the immediate market response may appear subdued, historical precedent warns us of the possibility of significant turbulence in the days and weeks to come. Investors must exercise prudence and vigilance as they navigate through these uncertain times, keeping in mind the enduring truth that market dynamics are subject to change at any moment.



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