U.S.-based bond rating agency Standard & Poor’s has cut General Motors’ and Ford Motor Co.’s debt ratings to junk status today according to a report from the Reuters news agency. The cut may reduce the automaker’s ability to raise additional capital as the firm copes with global competition and rising health care costs.
Junk status may have other consequences, including higher borrowing costs and possible destabilization of both the high-grade and junk bond markets. Some U.S. investment funds are ineligible to hold junk bonds and may be forced to sell GM debt, possibly in the billions of dollars .
Standard & Poor’s cut GM’s long-term credit ratings by two notches to “BB,” the firm’s second highest junk rating and advises that the outlook on the new rating is negative.
GM currently carries about $300 billion of outstanding long-term debt. Standard & Poor’s had previously cut Ford’s credit ratings one notch to “BB+,” the highest junk rating.
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