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[ 2011-04-29 15:10]     字号 [] [] []  
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Reader's question:  

US debt, once considered gilt-edged, is becoming increasingly risky.

Credit agency Standard and Poor's downgraded America's credit outlook in April from stable to negative for the first time in history, implying that the US has been put on notice that it faces losing its AAA credit rating unless it gets on top of its yawning debt and deficit.

Could you explain "gilt-edged"?

My comments:

Gilt, as in "gilt the lily" (which is totally unnecessary, of course), is a thin layer of gold or other shiny material used to cover objects in order to give them a sparkling look.

US debt was once considered gilt-edged because it was extra safe. In other words, as debts go, the US debt is much more desirable to keep than, say, Greek or Irish debt.

However, as America's credit outlook dims, US debt is becoming increasingly risky, as other sovereign debts are.

In other words, time to sell.

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Go to Zhang Xin's column


About the author:

Zhang Xin(张欣) has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.