Feb 9, 2017

Governments with perfect credit ratings at 15-year low

Fitch Ratings said Thursday that the number of governments around the world with triple-A credit has fallen to its lowest level in 15 years. These bond ratings are like credit scores for governments: they indicate sovereign borrower's creditworthiness so that bond investors know whom to lend money to.

Why it matters: Economic research shows that changes in debt ratings are broadly predictive of sovereign default, and they also serve as a centralized store of information that investors rely on to determine at what rates they'll lend. The low number of AAA countries shows increased strains government budgets have come under fighting the effects of the financial crisis and dealing with the consequences of aging populations and slower economic growth in the wealthy world.

Why it doesn't matter: There's not a lot of evidence that the market places much importance on the difference between AAA and AA-rated countries. When the U.S. was downgraded to AA by S&P in 2011, it's borrowing costs actually fell.

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Tech can't remember what to do in a down market

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Wall Street's two-day-old coronavirus crash is a wakeup alarm for Silicon Valley.

The big picture: Tech has been booming for so long the industry barely remembers what a down market feels like — and most companies are ill-prepared for one.

Brace yourself for a coronavirus outbreak

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Public-health officials’ warnings about the coronavirus are sounding increasingly urgent, with one top CDC official asking the public yesterday "to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."

Reality check: Other administration officials, including President Trump himself, were more subdued in their assessments. But underneath those tonal differences, the reality of the coronavirus is the same: It spreads quickly, and has already spread to many countries, making it likely to start spreading here, too.

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Exclusive: Pro-Trump group plans post-Super Tuesday blitz on Democrats

Democratic presidential hopefuls take the debate stage in South Carolina. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is preparing to unleash a series of targeted, swing-state attacks on the Democrats most likely to face President Trump after Super Tuesday, people familiar with the group's plans tell me in an exclusive preview of its strategy.

The state of play: The group has been tracking favorable/unfavorable ratings in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania for 2020 candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg — under the theory that if Trump wins each of these six states he would win re-election.