Moody’s: Five industries face post-Obama turbulence

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US corporates could face mixed credit impacts from the policy proposals being put forward by both presidential election candidates, according to a report from Moody’s Investors Service.

The credit ratings agency’s report, entitled ‘Cross-Sector – US: US Post-Election Policy Shifts Will Have Credit Effects on Various US Sectors’, focuses on five policy areas where the proposals of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could impact companies in a range of industries, including financial services, insurance, industrials and healthcare, as well as some US states and not-for-profit health care providers. It also looks at the impact on various structured finance assets.

On international trade, each candidate has made proposals that are largely designed to mitigate the perceived negative effects of trade on US manufacturing sector employment and wages.

Of the two candidates, Trump’s proposals are more far reaching, including a stated intention to renegotiate trade agreements and impose heavy tariffs. Clinton’s proposals are more free trade-oriented, although they suggest more toughness at the margin with an unwillingness to support trade agreements with terms that are deemed unfair.

“Policies that result in meaningful and protracted disruptions to the flow of goods and services between the US and its key trading partners, or result in reduced market access, could impact the earnings and so would be credit negative for a range of rated issuers,” said Robard Williams, a senior vice president at Moody’s.

Importantly, implications go beyond factors such as higher prices on imports and exports.

The report also looks at the credit implications for a range of sectors, including insurance and pharmaceutical companies, automotive, healthcare providers and states, arising out of each candidate’s proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted by president Obama in March 2010.

“As insurance companies have incurred significant financial losses from policies sold on the ACA public exchange marketplaces, Clinton’s proposal to expand coverage would be more credit negative for them,” said Williams.

“On the other hand, while Trump’s intention to repeal ACA is credit positive for health insurers, his proposals would create more upheaval and uncertainty in the short run.”

The impact of their policies on financial regulation, immigration and corporate tax reform are also addressed, with mixed credit implications for US banks, non-financial corporates, universities and structured finance transactions.

The report examines the proposed policies at face value – acknowledging that they may be adjusted over time, or even fail to be implemented.

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