The world’s five biggest AAA-rated states are all at risk of soaring debt costs and will have to implement austerity plans that threaten “social cohesion”, according to a report on sovereign debt by Moody’s.
The US rating agency said the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Spain are walking a tightrope as they try to bring public finances under control without nipping recovery in the bud. It warned of “substantial execution risk” in withdrawal of stimulus.
“Growth alone will not resolve an increasingly complicated debt equation. Preserving debt affordability at levels consistent with AAA ratings will invariably require fiscal adjustments of a magnitude that, in some cases, will test social cohesion,” said Pierre Cailleteau, the chief author.
“We are not talking about revolution, but the severity of the crisis will force governments to make painful choices that expose weaknesses in society,” he said.
If countries tighten too soon, they risk stifling recovery and making maters worse by eroding tax revenues: yet waiting too is “no less risky” as it would test market patience. “At the current elevated debt levels, a rise in the government’s cost of funding can very quickly render debt much less