Daily News: April 23, 2015

Fitch: U.S. Public Finance Upgrades Exceed Downgrades


During Q1/15 and for the fourth straight quarter, U.S. public finance rating upgrades outnumbered downgrades, according to Fitch Ratings. This coincided with a larger par value upgraded compared to downgraded for the quarter, primarily due to the upgrade of the state of California’s tax supported debt.

Fitch downgraded 20 credits, which represented approximately 2.4% of all rating actions and $43.9 billion in par value. In Q4/14, Fitch downgraded 19 credits. In Q1/15 Fitch upgraded 33 credits, which represented 4% of all rating actions and $101.6 billion in par value. In Q4/14, Fitch upgraded 47 credits.

The number of downgrades was less than upgrades by a ratio of 0.6:1, up from 0.4:1 in the prior quarter. The downgrade to upgrade ratio by par value was up again slightly after taking a dip in the fourth quarter, increasing to 0.4:1 from 0.2:1

The number of Negative Rating Outlooks (162) continued to exceed the number of Positive Rating Outlooks (84). However, Positive Rating Outlooks increased from the prior quarter and the number of Negative Rating Outlooks continued to decrease. The number of Negative Rating Outlooks was at its lowest level since 4Q’08.

A majority of the rating actions (88%) during the first quarter were affirmations. Furthermore, 93% of ratings had a Stable Rating Outlook at the end of the third quarter.

To view the full Fitch report, click here.