The US fiscal problems were thrown into sharp relief today as ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded its outlook on the superpower from stable to negative. In its explanatory note, S&P cited the US's continuing budget deficit and debt growth, and the failure of its political establishment to produce a long-term solution to both issues. Despite holding onto its AAA rating, risk perceptions increased on the sovereign, with credit default swap (CDS) spreads rising from 42 basis points at 3
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