A contested election could cost America its AAA credit rating
New York (CNN Business)A messy election could harm more than just faith in democracy — it could also cost the United States its perfect credit rating.
Fitch Ratings wrote in a report Monday that it will closely monitor the US presidential election for "any departure" from America's history of orderly transfers of power.
The United States has a perfect AAA credit rating from Fitch in part because of its track record for strong governance, including "well-understood rules and processes for the transfer of power," the report said.
"Fitch would view a departure from this principle negatively in considering the US rating," the credit ratings firm said.
In other words, a very messy election could cost the United States its AAA credit rating from Fitch.
A downgrade could cause an erosion of confidence among investors, potentially setting off turbulence in financial markets. It could also make it more expensive for the United States to finance its mountain of debt. In July, Fitch lowered its outlook on the United States to negative in part because of the "ongoing deterioration" in the nation's public finances — and the lack of a plan to address it.
Fitch said that it will be monitoring for signs that the election results will be "broadly accepted" and that there will either be an "orderly retention or transition of power" on January 20, 2021.
The fact that a major credit ratings firm even has to issue such a warning about one of the hallmarks of democracy underscores the deepening political divide in the United States and nervousness on Wall Street about the election. A contested election is the most commonly cited concern among portfolio managers surveyed by RBC Capital Markets, surpassing even worries about the economy and the pandemic.
一家大型信用评级公司甚至不得不就民主的标志之一发出这样的警告，这一事实突显了美国不断加深的政治分歧和华尔街对选举的紧张情绪。在加拿大皇家银行资本市场(RBC Capital Markets)调查的投资组合经理中，竞争激烈的选举是最常被提及的担忧，甚至超过了对经济和疫情的担忧。
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon expressed confidence Tuesday in the ability to get through the election.
摩根大通(JPMorgan Chase)首席执行官杰米·戴蒙(Jamie Dimon)周二表示，有信心有能力通过选举。
"I have great faith in this country and I'm sure we'll have a proper election," Dimon told reporters during a conference call in response to a question about doubts over election results.
Fitch: Election uncertainty could last for weeks
For months, investors have been bracing for post-election chaos that could rattle financial markets. Those worries have been amplified by President Donald Trump's baseless claims that the election is "rigged" because of unfounded concerns about mail-in ballots.
But the International Monetary Fund, which downgraded its 2021 global economic forecasts, isn't expecting election fireworks.
但下调了2021年全球经济预测的国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)并不指望选举会有烟花。
"Our assumption for the US is that there will be no serious disruption during the elections or after the elections," Gita Gopinath, the IMF's chief economist, said during a news conference Tuesday. "This is supposed to take place like any other previous election in the US. Of course, if that is not the case and there is heightened political uncertainty and disruptions that obviously would be a downside risk to the forecast."
Still, Fitch said that the popularity of mail-in voting because of the pandemic means that uncertainty over the winner of the election "could conceivably last for weeks" after the November 3 election.
"The challenges surrounding the voting process increase the likelihood that results at a state or national level will be disputed by one or both of the candidates or party organizations," the report said.
'Deepening political polarization'
Of course, there is a precedent for a messy election. The 2000 recount lingered for five weeks, driving down the S&P 500, before being halted by the US Supreme Court. Former Vice President Al Gore eventually conceded to George W. Bush, who was sworn in as the 43rd US president weeks later.
当然，混乱的选举是有先例的。2000年的重新计票持续了5周，压低了标准普尔500指数，随后被美国最高法院叫停。前副总统阿尔·戈尔(Al Gore)最终向乔治·W·布什(George W.Bush)承认了这一点，布什在几周后宣誓就任美国第43任总统。
"The disputed 2000 presidential election did not weaken investor trust in the US," Fitch said.
In 2011, S&P Global Ratings took the unprecedented step of downgrading the US credit rating because of the brinksmanship over raising the debt ceiling. However, the other two major credit ratings firms, Fitch and Moody's, kept their AAA ratings on the United States.
2011年，标普全球评级(S&P Global Ratings)采取了史无前例的举措，下调了美国的信用评级，原因是在提高债务上限问题上采取了边缘政策。不过，另外两家主要信用评级公司惠誉和穆迪维持对美国的AAA评级。
Fitch noted that the debt limit disputes of 2011 and 2013 as well as recurring government shutdowns have had a "limited impact" on trust in the United States.
The United States entered the pandemic with the highest debt of any AAA-rated government. And the latest projections indicate that US debt is now larger than the entire size of the economy — the first time that has happened since just after World War II.
"The potential for a disputed election result reflects deepening political polarization," Fitch wrote, "which could affect the next administration's policymaking scope and how it approaches public policy decision making on key issues."