Market worries are more about long-term outlook than credit ratings
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JEREMY HOBSON: Now let’s get some reaction from Wall Street. Julia Coronado is chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas. And she is with us live from New York as she is every Monday. Good morning, Julia.
JULIA CORONADO: Good morning.
HOBSON: What do you make of the market reaction to the downgrade so far?
CORONADO: Well, I think it comes against the backdrop of a lot of downgrading of growth expectations that have been happening over the last week or two. So, people have been marking down their forecasts for the U.S., and also for Europe, and even for emerging markets, so it’s in some senses reflections of those broader worries that the global economy is slowing down and maybe a little more precarious than we thought before.
HOBSON: People are more concerned with growth than the actual downgrade of government debt.
CORONADO: I think that that’s right. I mean, the S&P doesn’t know any secret we don’t already about the U.S. fiscal outlook. It’s just a reminder that there are a lot of big structural problems still facing the global economy.
HOBSON: S&P has been holding a conference call this morning and I want to play you a little bit of that. Here’s John Chambers, who is chairman of S&P’s sovereign debt rating committee explaining the downgrade.
JOHN CHAMBERS: We think that elected officials, across the political spectrum, are unable to proactively take measures to put U.S. public finances on a sustainable footing in the same sort of manner as some of our most highly rated governments.
HOBSON: So, Washington unable to come together with the U.S. on a sustainable footing — is that your big takeaway from this downgrade?
CORONADO: Well, I think, look, it’s easy to blame the politicians. What’s going on is, we have a lot of big fiscal challenges, we can’t really resolve them without taking lower retirement benefits, taking more taxes, and we don’t tend to elect politicians that tell us those things, so I think what I take away from the S&P downgrade is we do have a big challenge ahead of us and we really need to start facing it if we want to protect — really, our way of life.
HOBSON: Julia Coronado, chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas, thanks so much, as always.
CORONADO: It’s my pleasure.
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