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INVESTING/PORTFOLIO STRATEGIES

S&P downgrades Wyoming credit rating, cites pension funding

Standard & Poor's Global Ratings lowered its issuer credit rating for Wyoming to AA+ from AAA due in part to low pension funding levels, the ratings agency announced on Wednesday.

The agency primarily cites the reason for the AA+ as what they view as “an economy based on mining, tourism, agriculture and governmental employment that is now experiencing a downturn as the result of a decline in energy prices, following a previous energy-related economic boom,” the agency's report said.

The agency cited that annual retirement contributions have been “somewhat less that the actuarial annually determined contribution” and also cited the $8.2 billion Wyoming Retirement System's 7.75% return assumption as aggressive. It said those combined factors have contributed to a “relatively low three-year average pension funded ratio of 78%.”