American International Group was forced to seek federal help Sept. 15 to avoid bankruptcy because it became caught up in a vicious cycle of rating downgrades, Standard & Poor’s said in a research paper.

After downgrades, purchasers of AIG’s short-term commercial paper, which is used by companies use to finance their day-to-day cash needs, were beginning to decline to roll over AIG’s loans causing a credit crunch, said S&P.

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