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Economy

Chart: The Difference Between A Double-A And Triple-A Rating

Over the past few weeks, there's been lots of talks about how a default would affect the United States economy. But over the past few days, the talk has shifted a bit to include talk of a growing possibility that even if Washington averts default, the country could still face a credit downgrade from its golden triple-A rating.

Jacob Goldstein at Planet Money reports today on why a downgrade would probably not be a big deal. But Third Way, a think tank that advocates for "moderate" policies, created a chart that shows the difference in what countries with a double-A rating and countries with a triple-A rating pay in yields for 10-year bonds.

A chart showing 10-year bond yields for countries with AA and AAA ratings.
A chart showing 10-year bond yields for countries with AA and AAA ratings.

The bottom line, as you can see, is that on average a double-A country pays about three-quarters of a point higher yield than a triple-A country. But nothing is black and white: Note that double-A Japan already pays a lower yield (1.09) than triple-A United States (3.00).

If you want to dig deeper, the U.S. Treasury has historical data on what it's paid for bonds since 1990.

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