China's New Economic Power is Helping the World Overcome a Surprising Slump in U.S. Creditworthiness

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China's new economic power is helping the world overcome a surprising slump in U.S. creditworthiness

China's soaring growth is driving a major improvement in global creditworthiness and offsetting a surprising decline in the United States' credit rating, according to an exclusive survey by Institutional Investor magazine.

The average credit rating of most of the world's countries rose by 2.2 points, to 46.1, in the past six months, according to Institutional Investor's semiannual Country Credit survey. (Countries are rated on a scale of 0 to 100.) The increase was the biggest change since a 2.5-point rise in the six months ended September 2000; the overall rating is well above the recent peak of 45.1, reached one year ago, and marks the highest rating since September 1981, when there were far fewer developing countries in the survey. Fully 163 of the 174 countries ranked by credit analysts saw their ratings increase.

China's rating jumped 4.1 points to 73.9, good for 34th place overall. With an economy roaring ahead at a 10 percent annual clip and racking up massive surpluses with the U.S., which it then recycles to commodities-producing countries, China is the driving force behind the rise in creditworthiness.

The United States, by contrast, saw its rating fall 0.5 point to 94.0, dropping the longtime benchmark of global creditworthiness to 13th place. It was the first time since Institutional Investor began measuring country creditworthiness in 1979 that the U.S. failed to make the top ten.

The top five countries remain the same since our September 2006 ranking, led by Switzerland with a 96.3 rating, up 0.2 point.

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