The credit rating downgrade for the United States is one of the most significant events that occurred in the global financial markets in the past hours, causing fluctuations in the markets.
The rating agency, Fitch, announced a long-term credit rating downgrade for the United States from AAA to AA+, citing expected financial deterioration over the next three years, the increasing high burden of public debt, and governance erosion compared to peers. It also mentioned repeated political confrontations to address debts and last-minute decisions, which have weakened market confidence in the country’s financial management.
However, U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, stated that the agency’s decision was arbitrary. Yellen also pointed out that the credit rating downgrade was based on outdated information.
Sovereign wealth funds, retirement funds, and other investors take credit ratings into account when performing an assessment of creditworthiness. Such institutions typically prefer to hold bonds from countries with higher credit ratings.
The rating downgrade caused a state of anxiety in the US financial markets, negatively affecting investor confidence. Asian stock indices declined today, with the Nikkei index in Japan closing with a loss of 2.3%. The Hang Seng index dropped by 2.26%, and the Shanghai Composite index declined by 0.89%. This decline followed a 0.27% decrease in the U.S. Standard & Poor’s index yesterday.
U.S. stock index futures also traded lower after the credit rating downgrade for the United States. Dow Jones futures dropped by more than 0.3%, and Standard & Poor’s futures declined by more than half a percentage point. Nasdaq, the tech index, fell by more than 0.8%.
Currency markets experienced tangible fluctuations, and the performance of the US dollar varied against a basket of currencies. The euro traded near $1.10, and the pound traded within a $1.28 range before returning to $1.27.
The markets are awaiting the decision of the Bank of England tomorrow, which has affected the pound trading against the US dollar. As for the Japanese yen, it traded at 143 yen per US dollar before declining to 142 yen.
In the precious metals market, gold prices rose after falling to near $1941 yesterday. Today, the yellow metal traded at a range close to $1950 per ounce.
Private sector job data after the U.S. credit rating downgrade
The rating agency, Fitch, indicated that the rise in the general government deficit, expected to reach 6.3% of the 2023 GDP, coupled with tightening credit conditions, weak business investment, and consumption slowdown, could lead to a moderate recession. On the other hand, the U.S. government opposed this assessment, describing it as arbitrary.
As a result, traders may monitor U.S. economic data to either confirm or refute Fitch’s outlook.
Today, the ADP private sector employment report was released, showing that the economy added 324,000 new jobs in non-farm private sectors. The value of 324,000 jobs surpassed market expectations of 191,000 jobs, although it was lower than the previous figure of 497,000 jobs.
The US dollar responded positively to this economic data while gold prices declined. U.S. stock futures remain under pressure as the data may suggest a possibility of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.
More U.S. economic data is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) will release the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the services sector.
Additionally, there will be data on weekly jobless claims, the industrial orders index, and the Challenger job cuts index.
On Friday, we will have the official U.S. jobs data, with expectations indicating that the unemployment rate will remain stable at 3.6%.
Therefore, today’s U.S. credit rating downgrade, along with the anticipated economic data, may have significant combined effects in the next couple of days.