Fitch warns of possible cut to US triple-A rating

In a prime-time television address late Tuesday, Trump made his case for a wall and strengthened security at the U.S.-Mexico border in graphic fashion, highlighting multiple grisly examples of Americans allegedly murdered by illegal immigrants.

Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, immediately responded to Trump’s harrowing remarks, denouncing his dark language and again calling for the government to reopen.

The dueling addresses amounted to little more than high-stakes theater, with each side repeating their firm stances on the shutdown.

In a commentary published Friday, Fitch said its sovereign credit view of the world’s-largest economy hinged on whether the ongoing shutdown was likely to morph into a “more pronounced destabilization of fiscal policymaking.”

That includes “brinkmanship” over the country’s debt limit, Fitch said, referring to the current political impasse in Washington.

The rating agency also points out the U.S. debt limit is due to come back into force from March.

“We view the risk of a failure to lift the debt limit in time to prevent a U.S. federal debt default as remote,” Fitch said in its commentary, before adding: “Evidence of greater dysfunction in fiscal policymaking could still contribute to negative pressure on the U.S. rating — (and) this is especially the case as deficits continue to increase.”

In June 2018, sovereign analysts at S&P Global reaffirmed their triple-A credit rating for the U.S., adding the country’s outlook was “stable.”

Responding to a request for comment on Wednesday, S&P said the government shutdown had not changed its view.

While Moody’s did not respond when contacted by CNBC on Wednesday, the rating agency reportedly said late December that a partial government shutdown would not have a material impact on the country’s credit profile.

— CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.

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