Downward Mobility: Where U.S. Ranks Now

VIDEO: America downgraded to AA after nearly 100 years of perfect AAA credit rating.
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Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ on Friday, the first time in history, America's credit rating has been downgraded.

"The downgrade," S&P said, "reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."

For more on Standard & Poor's downgrade on U.S. long term debt, click here.

Here is the current sovereign rating list from Standard & Poor's:

Long-Term S&P Rating

Australia (Commonwealth of) (Unsolicited Ratings) AAA
Austria (Republic of) AAA
Canada AAA
Denmark (Kingdom of) AAA
Finland (Republic of) AAA
France (Republic of) (Unsolicited Ratings) AAA
Germany (Federal Republic of) (Unsolicited Ratings) AAA
Guernsey AAA
Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region) AAA
Isle of Man AAA
Liechtenstein (Principality of) AAA
Luxembourg (Grand Duchy of) AAA
Netherlands (State of The) (Unsolicited Ratings) AAA
Norway (Kingdom of) AAA
Singapore (Republic of) (Unsolicited Ratings) AAA
Sweden (Kingdom of) AAA
Swiss Confederation (Unsolicited Ratings) AAA
United Kingdom (Unsolicited Ratings) AAA

United States of America (Unsolicited Ratings) AA+
Belgium (Kingdom of) (Unsolicited Ratings) AA+
New Zealand AA+
Abu Dhabi (Emirate of) AA
Bermuda AA
Kuwait (State of) AA
Qatar (State of) AA
Slovenia (Republic of) AA
Spain (Kingdom of) AA
China (People's Republic of) AA-
Japan (Unsolicited Ratings) AA-
Saudi Arabia (Kingdom of) AA-
Taiwan (Unsolicited Ratings) AA-

Chile (Republic of) A+
Italy (Republic of) (Unsolicited Ratings) A+
Slovak Republic A+
Andorra (Principality of) A
Czech Republic A
Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah A
Estonia (Republic of) A
Israel (State of) A
Korea (Republic of) A
Malta (Republic of) A
Oman (Sultanate of) A
Trinidad and Tobago (Republic of) A
Aruba A-
Botswana (Republic of) A-
Cyprus (Republic of) A-
Malaysia A-
Poland (Republic of) A-

What do these ratings mean, in terms of real risk assessment? Here are the narrative definitions from Standard & Poor's:

'AAA' -- Extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments. Highest Rating.
'AA' -- Very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.

'A' -- Strong capacity to meet financial commitments, but somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances.

'BBB' -- Adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but more subject to adverse economic conditions.

'BBB-' -- Considered lowest investment grade by market participants.

'BB+' -- Considered highest speculative grade by market participants.

'BB' -- Less vulnerable in the near-term but faces major ongoing uncertainties to adverse business, financial and economic conditions.

'B' -- More vulnerable to adverse business, financial and economic conditions but currently has the capacity to meet financial commitments.

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