26 Jul '11, 11pm

Default or not, US credit rating downgrade looks likely

NEW YORK - COULD the US lose its top credit rating even if a deal is reached to raise the debt limit? Market analysts and investors increasingly say yes. The outcome won't be quite as scary as a default, but financial markets would still take a blow. Mortgage rates could rise. States and cities, already strapped, could find it more difficult to borrow. Stocks could lose their gains for the year. 'At this point, we're more concerned about the risk of a downgrade than a default,' said Terry Belton, global head of fixed income strategy at JPMorgan Chase. In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Mr Belton said the loss of the country's AAA rating may rattle markets, but it's 'better than missing an interest payment.' Even with a deadline to raise the US debt limit less than a week away, many investors still believe Washington will pull off a last-minute deal to avoid a ...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Money/Story/STIS...

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