Overseas Headlines – March 13, 2017


U.S. to keep Aaa-rating after debt ceiling: Moody’s
Moody’s Investors Services said on Monday the United States will retain the rating agency’s top-notch debt rating as long as it meets its interest payments even if the government’s borrowing cap is reinstated on Thursday. Back in November 2015, federal lawmakers suspended the federal debt ceiling, which would be about $19.9 trillion, if they do not vote to extend the suspension which ends on Wednesday. "While the periodic impasse over raising the debt ceiling is a credit negative feature of the country’s debt management, it has not affected the sovereign’s credit rating to date," Moody’s analysts wrote in a research report published on Monday. Like Moody’s, Fitch has kept its top AAA-rating on U.S. government debt. However, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S.’ rating by one notch to AA+ in August 2011. It cited its high level of debt and uncertainty about the federal government’s ability to manage that debt load following a debt ceiling showdown.

Sterling bounces higher as Brexit bill returns to Commons
Sterling rose against the dollar on Monday, as investors expected Britain’s lower house of parliament to over-ride the upper house’s changes to Brexit legislation, removing some uncertainty about Britain’s EU exit talks. The bill that will give Prime Minister Theresa May the power to trigger Article 50, notification that Britain will begin a two-year period of exit negotiations, is expected to complete its passage through parliament this week. The pound was up 0.4 percent at $1.2222, with May expected to trigger Article 50 as early as Tuesday. The pound was also supported by dollar weakness at the start of a week in which the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates, CIBC World Markets currency strategist Jeremy Stretch said.


China Moves to Make $9 Trillion Domestic Bond Market Global
The tide may slowly be turning for Chinese bonds. Citigroup Inc. said Tuesday it will include onshore Chinese debt in some of its gauges, while the central bank pledged to create a “more convenient and friendly environment” for foreign investors. This follows a recent measure to allow currency hedging for bonds, a move seen as one of many efforts needed to lower barriers. The world’s third-largest debt market needs the money, with investors still smarting from the biggest slump in six years in January. Foreign ownership of Chinese onshore bonds fell to 1.3 percent last year even as outstanding notes surged 32 percent to 64 trillion yuan ($9.3 trillion), according to a Deutsche Bank AG report last month. Inflows would help stabilize the yuan, and buttress the nation’s dwindling foreign-exchange reserves.