By Marc Jones and William James
LONDON | Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:25am EST
(Reuters) - The United States faces a "material risk" of losing its triple-A status if there is a repeat of the wrangling seen in 2011 over raising the country's self-imposed debt ceiling, credit ratings firm Fitch said on Tuesday.
Fitch also said Spain will continue to face downgrade risks even if it avoids having to ask for a bailout, while Ireland could claw its way back into the single-A rating band if a deal is struck to share the burden of its banking debts.
Despite December's deal by U.S. politicians to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax hikes, Fitch's head of sovereign ratings, David Riley, said pressure on the country's rating was increasing.
"If we have a repeat of the August 2011 debt ceiling crisis we will place the U.S. rating under review. There will be a material risk of the U.S. rating coming down," Riley said at a conference hosted by the firm.