The White House has reacted sharply to a move by Fitch to downgrade the United States' credit rating, describing it as "arbitrary".
Ratings agency Fitch downgraded the United States' top triple-A credit rating by a step on Tuesday to AA+ in a move that has angered the White House and surprised investors.
It cited the state of the country’s finances and repeated down-the-wire debt ceiling negotiations that threaten the government’s ability to pay its bills as the reason for its decision.
Fitch, which made the announcement shortly after financial markets closed trading on Tuesday, is the second major rating agency after Standard & Poor’s to strip the US of its triple-A rating.
The White House said it “strongly disagrees” with the decision while the Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, described the downgrade as "arbitrary and based on outdated data".
The move could mean that borrowers are less likely to lend money to the federal government on favourable terms, potentially having an impact on taxpayers.