7 Aug 2011

US scolded by China over debt

4:59 am on 7 August 2011

State media in China has demanded that the United States address its debt problem and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets.

Xinhua news agency says the days when America could borrow its way out of trouble are over.

It says Washington will suffer further devastating downgrades if it does not make substantial cuts to its ''gigantic'' military spending and ''bloated'' social welfare costs.

"The spluttering world economic recovery would be very likely to be undermined and fresh rounds of financial turmoil could come back to haunt us all," said Xinhua.

The agency said the US should stop ''letting its domestic electoral politics take the global economy hostage''.

China holds about two thirds of its foreign exchange reserves in US dollars.

Standard & Poor's on Friday lowered its rating for the United States to AA+, because the recent debt reduction plan did not go far enough.

The BBC reports an estimate that the downgrade could add an extra $US75 billion to the annual US interest rate bill.

However, the other two major credit rating agencies, Moody's and Fitch, said they had no immediate plans to follow S&P.

Xinhua also called for the printing of US dollars to be supervised internationally and repeated China's contention that a new global reserve currency might be needed.

Analysts say neither suggestion is likely to happen.

S&P threatened the downgrade if the United States could not agree to cut its federal debt by at least $US4 trilliion over the next decade.

Instead, a bill passed by Congress on Tuesday plans $US2.1 trillion in savings over 10 years.