In this month’s Credit Card Statement, Moody’s Investors Service introduced a complement to its “loss zone” analysis called Rating Road Maps.

The new analysis asks the question, what effect a change in performance expectations would have on triple-A ratings?

In the context of the current consumer-led, severe recession in which the rating agency's base case forecast has unemployment and charge-offs peaking at about 9%, the propensity for downgrades of triple-A-rated senior credit card bonds will remain quite low, according to the rating agency.

However, the likelihood of a downgrade will increase if subsequent forecasts call for an even deeper downturn in the economy. Even so, the degree of any downgrade would not likely exceed one to three notches, said Moody’s.

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