Our credit outlook for U.S. corporate ratings in 2015 is generally stable. We expect continued U.S. economic improvement to counteract slower growth overseas. We also see U.S. corporate revenue continuing to grow in the mid-single digits in 2015, in line with aggregate nominal economic growth prospects. Although the sharp decline in oil prices will weigh on energy sector conditions, it will immediately benefit airlines, trucking, and auto manufacturers, while lowering energy costs for many other segments of the economy. It could also boost consumer spending in 2015 and 2016, but stronger income gains are likely needed for more robust long-term growth. We forecast that corporate refinancings will remain manageable in 2015 because protracted low interest rates and credit-friendly borrowing conditions have allowed many companies to push out maturities. However, U.S. interest rates are reaching an inflection point, and we expect the Federal Reserve to make its first policy interest rate increase in second-quarter 2015.
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