The United States Isn’t A Top-tier Creditor, In One Map

WorldCreditRisk

But how does the United States stack up internationally? For that we turn to the BlackRock Investment Institute, the research arm of the giant money manager. It has created the “BlackRock Sovereign Risk Index” which aims to combine key aspects of creditworthiness of 48 countries around the world. It factors in plenty of things that have to do with the substance of different countries’ finances, such as their current debt and deficit levels, banking system strength, and exposure to debt denominated in foreign currencies. But it also adds an important layer that it calls “Willingness to Pay.” It measures the effectiveness and efficiency of governments to meet their obligations, and counts for 30 percent of the total index. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising after the last couple of weeks of government shutdown and debt ceiling chicanery in Washington, but by BlackRock’s reckoning, the United States is not among the top-tier credit risks by this ranking. Here’s a complete map: You can check the detailed analysis for each country in an interactive graphic here . By BlackRock’s reckoning, the world’s most creditworthy nations–those with both solid finances and solid political systems that ensure bonds will be repaid–are the likes of Norway, Singapore, and Switzerland. The United States, as the map shows, is in the second tier, more similar to South Korea and Austria and Malaysia in its creditworthiness. For anyone who follows the news, it is hard to disagree. Neil Irwin is a Washington Post columnist and the economics editor of Wonkblog.

Why Does Saudi Arabia Fear the United States?

October 16, 2013 | Comments (0) This segment is from Tuesday’s edition of “Digging for Value”, in which sector analysts Joel South and Taylor Muckerman discuss energy & materials news with host Alison Southwick. The twice-weekly show can be viewed on Tuesdays & Thursdays. It can also be found on Twitter, along with our extended coverage of the energy & materials sectors @TMFEnergy . Earlier this year, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal ended the guessing game as to whether or not OPEC’s leading oil producing state feared that United States oil production could harm Saudi Arabia’s economy. News flash…it can. To help assuage these fears, Saudi Aramco, the nation’s state run oil company, has put the energy industry on notice. It is planning “massive” spending to target multiple areas of growth within the country, and that should benefit equipment and service providers that have already seen action within the country. Given the company’s current $40 billion capital expenditure plan, even higher spending should be a boon for the likes of Halliburton (NYSE: HAL ) and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB ) which have been involved in both on- and off-shore oil and natural gas drilling in Saudi Arabia. Stick with the oil and gas services industry for our Top Stock of 2013 The Motley Fool’s chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for this year. Find out which stock it is in the special free report: ” The Motley Fool’s Top Stock for 2013 .” Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company. Joel South owns shares of Schlumberger. Taylor Muckerman owns shares of Halliburton. The Motley Fool recommends Halliburton. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days .

United States debt crisis comes to an end

Sydney Opera House gets a pricetag for birthday

“Most importantly, this legislation ends a standoff that ground the work of Washington to a halt.” Harry Reid says this is not a time of finger-pointing and blame, but a time of reconciliation – and he has touched on the need for the Senate to work in a more bi-partisan way in the future. Hesays the ‘remarkable agreement’ will protect the long term health of the economy, avoid default, and set up a foundation for economic expansion. “What we’ve done is send a message to Americans, from every one of our 50 states, in addition to that to the citizens of every country in the world, that the United States lives up to its obligations.” Harry Reid has talked about new levels of co-operation between Republicans and Democrats in reaching the agreement. “I’m optimistic that the spirit of compromise (which) has taken root in the Senate over the last two days, will endure.” Hesays after sitting in very serious discussions over the last few days, he and Republican leader Mitch McConnell will do everything they can to change the atmosphere in the Senate. White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, has just spoken to media in Washington. He says Barack Obama has welcomed progress, saying it achieves what is necessary and removes the threat of default. “We haven’t seen legislation move through either house at this point, so we’re not issuing an official statement of administration policy. “He (Obama) looks forward to Congress acting so that he can sign legislation that will reopen the government, and remove this threat from our economy.” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says he will support the plan. “There’s a lot more we need to do to get our nation’s fiscal health in order. “Hopefully once we’ve gotten past the drama of the moment, we can get to work on it.” Republican Senator Jeff Denham says he has big concerns, but this has to be done. “We need to do everything we can to avoid this debt ceiling. “We understand, both Republicans and Democrats understand how bad this can be for our nation, as well as the world economy.” Another Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, says he won’t block the deal, but he is not happy. “The deal that has been cut provides no relief to the millions of Americans who are hurting because of Obamacare.” Earlier, investment expert Warren Buffet likened the situation to playing with an atomic bomb. “It’s really a political weapon of mass destruction. “There are certain things that shouldn’t be used. I know it’s been used in the past, but we used the atomic bomb back in 1945 (and) we decided we weren’t going to use something like that again.” Sky News reporter Dominic Waghorn says even though a deal is done, the question remains open over permanent damage to America’s reputation. “Has it been permanently damaged by this debacle? By political gridlock in Washington? “Whatever happens … will the world now look at America differently in terms of the way it views its ability to honour its debt?” Dominic Waghorn says one ratings agency has already put the country on watch for a possible downgrade because of the brinkmanship going on. Hannah Thomas-Peter, also of Sky News, says even though this is a temporary fix there have been huge gains on the stock market. “The conventional wisdom on Wall Street – the market expectation – has always been that America would not default on its obligations. “Warren Buffett, one of America’s most famous businessmen, said that it wasn’t possible America could be so idiotic as to allow that to happen, and that a default was unthinkable.