D-Day in Puerto Rico: Credit Ratings Downgraded to Junk at S&P

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Standard & Poor’s Rating Services has just turned Puerto Rico into the equivalent of on of the PIIGS over credit ratings. Well, maybe Puerto Rico did it with poor finances and S&P is just taking action. S&P is downgrading Puerto Rico’s general obligation bonds down to junk bond status.

Puerto Rico’s prior “BBB-” rating on the general obligations bonds is now listed as “BB.” Where things get even worse is that all of the S&P ratings remain on “CreditWatch with negative implications,” even after the downgrade.

Subsidiaries and the Commonwealth appropriation secured debt and the Employee Retirement System debt were also lowered to “BB” from “BBB-” in the call. As a reminder, if the general obligation bonds are cut, that generally translates to multitudes of downgrades on other portions of its debt. S&P even had over a dozen pages online of downgrades focused on this downgrade.

S&P said, The downgrades follow our elevation of liquidity for the Commonwealth, including what we believe is a reduced capacity to access liquidity from the Government Development Bank (GDB) of Puerto Rico.”

The GDB was also downgraded. S&P now believes that capital access is likely to remain constrained in the medium term and the concerns do not merit investment grade.

The downgrade cycle begins again, just closer to home this time. As a reminder, Puerto Rico is considered a protectorate under the United States of America.