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Fitch: U.S. Public Finance Upgrades Exceeded Downgrades in 2Q'14; Largely Due to Upgrade of NY Debt

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings notes that during the second quarter of 2014 (2Q'14) and for the first time since 3Q'09, U.S. public finance rating upgrades outnumbered downgrades. The trend reversed largely due to the upgrade of the state of New York's general obligation bonds and related debt on June 20, 2014.

Fitch downgraded 36 credits, which represented approximately 3.8% of all rating actions and $62.1 billion in par value. In 1Q'14, Fitch downgraded 37 credits. Fitch upgraded 47 credits, which represented 4.9% of all rating actions and $69.9 billion in par value. In 1Q'14, Fitch upgraded 21 credits. The upgrades to New York's debt comprised 17 of the second quarter upgrades.

The number of downgrades was less than upgrades by a ratio of 0.8:1. Downgrades exceeded upgrades by 1.8:1 in the prior quarter. The downgrade to upgrade ratio by par value decreased dramatically to 0.9:1, from 25:1 in the prior quarter, when the par amount of downgrades was unusually large.

The number of Negative Rating Outlooks (208) continued to exceed the number of Positive Rating Outlooks (66), resulting in a 3.2:1 ratio at the end of the second quarter. A majority of the rating actions (87%) during the second quarter were affirmations, with no change in Rating Outlook or Rating Watch status. Furthermore, 92% of ratings had a Stable Rating Outlook at the end of the second quarter.

The full report 'U.S. Public Finance Rating Actions for Second Quarter 2014' summarizes these rating actions by sector and can be found at 'www.fitchratings.com'.

Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research: U.S. Public Finance Rating Actions Second-Quarter 2014

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=752154

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Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Sarah Repucci, +1-212-908-0726
Senior Director
Fitch Ratings, Inc.
33 Whitehall Street
New York, NY 10004
or
Vincent Barberio, +1-212-908-0505
Managing Director
or
Media Relations
Elizabeth Fogerty, New York, +1-212-908-0526
elizabeth.fogerty@fitchratings.com