Egan-Jones Ratings Co. cut its credit rating for the U.S. one level to AA-, citing the potential for the Federal Reserve’s third round of large-scale asset purchases to weaken the dollar and drive up inflation.
U.S. debt to gross-domestic-product has risen to 104 percent from 66 percent in 2006, Egan-Jones said today in a report. The firm lowered the U.S. to AA in April. Yields on 10- year Treasuries have fallen five basis points since the end of that month to 1.86 percent.
The Fed’s latest program will “stoke the stock market and commodity prices, but in our opinion will hurt the U.S. economy and, by extension, credit quality,” Egan-Jones said. “The increased cost of commodities will pressure profitability of businesses, and increase the costs of consumers, thereby reducing consumer purchasing power.”
The Fed yesterday announced its third round of large-scale asset purchases since 2008, saying it will buy $40 billion of mortgage debt a month. The central bank didn’t set any limit on the ultimate amount it would buy or the duration of the program. Policy makers also extended the prospect of near-zero interest rates until mid-2015 and said policy will stay accommodative “for a considerable time” even after the economy strengthens.