Ratings agencies are given too much importance, one of the top firms, Standard & Poor's Corp, says, despite its own US rating downgrade having sparked untold turmoil on global markets.
"Everyone seems to have just discovered we exist but we have been rating businesses and countries for decades," said Carol Sirou of S&P France in remarks to the Liberation daily on Monday.
"The role ascribed to us is much greater than is really the case," Sirou said. "The market is making us play a role that is not ours to play," she added, saying that current market nervousness "is due more to an economic slowdown than the ratings agencies."
S&P on Friday cut the US debt rating to AA+ with a negative outlook from the top notch triple A for the first time ever, sparking heavy losses on markets already worried about slowing growth and the eurozone debt crisis.