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S&P downgrades 9 eurozone countries

Rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has lowered the sovereign ratings of nine eurozone countries, including France and Italy, a move that reignited concerns over the fiscal sustainability of the region. EU economy chief regrets S&P's 'inconsistent' decision

business Updated: Jan 15, 2012 01:31 IST

Rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has lowered the sovereign ratings of nine eurozone countries, including France and Italy, a move that reignited concerns over the fiscal sustainability of the region.

S&P has lowered the sovereign ratings of nine countries, of which the long-term ratings of Cyprus, Italy, Portugal, and Spain were lowered by two notches. The sovereign ratings on Austria, France, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia, were lowered by one notch.

France’s sovereign rating has been downgraded to AA+ the level of US long-term debt, which S&P downgraded in August last year. Germany was the only country that retained its coveted AAA tag — the highest investment grade ratings.

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“Today’s rating actions are primarily driven by our assessment that the policy initiatives that have been taken by European policymakers in recent weeks may be insufficient to fully address ongoing systemic stresses in the eurozone,” S&P said in a statement.

Sovereign rating is an indicator of country’s credit worthiness.