credit rating

There has been a lot written about the decision by the ratings agencies to lower the credit rating outlook of Australian Government debt. This is actually significant for the market although the negative outlook means that the actual rating may not change for another 18 months.

Apparently the ability of the government to continue fiscal reform and to get the budget through the Senate is all that is required to maintain the Triple A rating. A quick look at the composition of the Senate tells me that the outlook may be reduced faster than thought.

A little reported event that occurred at the same time the government got their rating cut was that the Big 4 banks also had their outlook reduced to negative as well. It makes sense that this would happen as the market believes that the banks are given an automatic lifeline if the credit markets seize up.

The only problem with that is the banks did not have the anger directed at them back then as they do now. With a hostile Senate, the banks may be looking a bit weaker if credit markets tighten.