GRAPHIC-Falling AAAngels: The shrinking 'triple A' world

LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) – Canada became the latest country to be stripped of a prized ‘triple A’ sovereign credit rating after Fitch downgraded it on Wednesday.

Below is a list of all the countries that still carry at least one triple A grade as well as graphics showing the steady decline of the top rating bracket over the last 15 years. Agency Country outlook on credit rating S&P Global

Australia Negative

Canada Stable

Denmark Stable

Germany Stable

Liechtenstein Stable

Luxembourg Stable

Netherlands Stable

Norway Stable

Singapore Stable

Sweden Stable

Switzerland Stable

Fitch

Australia Negative

Denmark Stable

Germany Stable

Luxembourg Stable

Netherlands Stable

Norway Stable

Singapore Stable

Sweden Stable

Switzerland Stable

United States Stable Moody’s

Australia Stable

Denmark Stable

Germany Stable

Luxembourg Stable

Netherlands Stable

New Zealand Stable

Norway Stable

Singapore Stable

Sweden Stable

Switzerland Stable

United States Stable

Fitch now has the fewest ‘AAAs’ since 2003. After Wednesday’s downgrade of Canada, it now rates 11 sovereigns ‘AAA’, the fewest since 2003 and, at less than 10% of rated sovereigns, the smallest ever share of the sovereign portfolio.

From August 2004 until April 2009, there were between 16-19 ‘AAA’ sovereigns, the highest number ever, and the period of greatest ‘AAA’ stability. Historically, 18 sovereigns have had top grades with Fitch, while there were 19 on S&P global’s list going into the 2008 financial crisis.

Japan was the first sovereign to lose its ‘AAA’ rating, in 1998 from Fitch and 2001 from S&P. Since then Austria, Finland, France, Ireland, Spain, Britain, in the case of S&P the United States and now Canada for Fitch have all followed suit.

There have been few recent upgrades into the coveted bracket. The Netherlands got its back from S&P in late 2015, Australia also won its from Fitch in November 2011 though it had earned it back as early as 2003 from S&P.

Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Australia have all regained S&P ‘AAA’ ratings after losing them a various points, though no country has even regained one stripped by Fitch.

With the fall in the number of ‘AAA’ sovereigns, their collective shares of global government debt and GDP have declined as well.

Fitch estimated that at end-2006, prior to the onset of the global financial crisis, ‘AAA’ sovereigns accounted for nearly half of total government debt.

Analysts at ING estimate that it is now below 25%, while S&P which no longer grades the U.S. – the world’s biggest government borrower – as triple A, calculated it to be around 7% last year.

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