Factbox: How And When Might The United States Default?

But how does the United States stack up internationally? For that we turn to the BlackRock Investment Institute, the research arm of the giant money manager. It has created the “BlackRock Sovereign Risk Index” which aims to combine key aspects of creditworthiness of 48 countries around the world. It factors in plenty of things that have to do with the substance of different countries’ finances, such as their current debt and deficit levels, banking system strength, and exposure to debt denominated in foreign currencies. But it also adds an important layer that it calls “Willingness to Pay.” It measures the effectiveness and efficiency of governments to meet their obligations, and counts for 30 percent of the total index. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising after the last couple of weeks of government shutdown and debt ceiling chicanery in Washington, but by BlackRock’s reckoning, the United States is not among the top-tier credit risks by this ranking. Here’s a complete map: You can check the detailed analysis for each country in an interactive graphic here . By BlackRock’s reckoning, the world’s most creditworthy nations–those with both solid finances and solid political systems that ensure bonds will be repaid–are the likes of Norway, Singapore, and Switzerland. The United States, as the map shows, is in the second tier, more similar to South Korea and Austria and Malaysia in its creditworthiness. For anyone who follows the news, it is hard to disagree. Neil Irwin is a Washington Post columnist and the economics editor of Wonkblog.

Why Does Saudi Arabia Fear the United States?

The twice-weekly show can be viewed on Tuesdays & Thursdays. It can also be found on Twitter, along with our extended coverage of the energy & materials sectors @TMFEnergy . Earlier this year, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal ended the guessing game as to whether or not OPEC’s leading oil producing state feared that United States oil production could harm Saudi Arabia’s economy. News flash…it can. To help assuage these fears, Saudi Aramco, the nation’s state run oil company, has put the energy industry on notice. It is planning “massive” spending to target multiple areas of growth within the country, and that should benefit equipment and service providers that have already seen action within the country. Given the company’s current $40 billion capital expenditure plan, even higher spending should be a boon for the likes of Halliburton (NYSE: HAL ) and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB ) which have been involved in both on- and off-shore oil and natural gas drilling in Saudi Arabia. Stick with the oil and gas services industry for our Top Stock of 2013 The Motley Fool’s chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for this year. Find out which stock it is in the special free report: ” The Motley Fool’s Top Stock for 2013 .” Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company. Joel South owns shares of Schlumberger. Taylor Muckerman owns shares of Halliburton. The Motley Fool recommends Halliburton. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days .

No one knows the exact date because you cannot predict with certainty what future tax revenues will look like. – The United States defaults when the money runs out, right? It depends on how you define default. Historically, default is when a country misses a payment to a creditor. The Obama administration says default would include any missed payment, such as payments for public health insurance. The first really big bill due after hitting the debt ceiling is a $12 billion payment in the Social Security retirement program on October 23. – When would financial markets melt down? Markets would be alarmed if it looks like bondholders would go unpaid for an extended period, and might even panic if any government checks are delayed. Many analysts think the administration would at least try to prioritize payments on the national debt, but Treasury officials say picking and choosing which bills to pay would be impossible. The first debt payments due after hitting the debt ceiling are on October 17, 24 and 31. The first of those should not be a problem, according the CBO analysis. But there might not be enough money for the payments due on the 24th or the 31st. – How would a default affect the economy?

The United States is still getting rid of its chemical weapons

British intelligence said at least 350 people died, while rebel leaders have put the death toll at more than 1,300. Constricted pupils was listed as a symptom in victims of the alleged attack on August 21. Victims of the attack are laid in the back of a truck in the Hamoria area of Damascus on August 21. A young survivor takes shelter in a mosque in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus on August 21. Victims are buried in a suburb of Damascus on August 21. People search for the dead to collect samples to check for chemical weapon use in the Zamalka area of Syria on Thursday, August 22. A group of young Salafists chants and waves black flags during a protest against the Egyptian and Syria regimes in the southern Gaza Strip on August 22. A young woman holds a Syrian revolution flag and a candle during a protest of President Bashar al-Assad in front of the U.N. headquarters in Gaza City on Friday, August 23. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon intends to conduct a “thorough, impartial and prompt investigation” into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Pigeons’ bodies litter the ground in the Damascus suburbs of Arbeen on Saturday, August 24. Syrian soldiers are deployed in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus on August 24. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaks with the Russian newspaper Izvestia in Damascus, Syria, on Monday, August 26. He told the newspaper that Western accusations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons are an insult to common sense.