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Standard and Poor's downgrades credit ratings of eight European nations

Brussels, Sat, 14 Jan 2012 ANI

Brussels, Jan 14(ANI): Credit rating firm Standard and Poor's has downgraded the ratings of eight European countries, indicating that the eurozone crisis has entered a dangerous phase.


The firm slashed France's AAA rating in the wake of declining stock markets and currency.he Euro is currently at its lowest value against the US dollar since mid-2010.


Italy's ratings were cut by two notches, while Spain, Portugal and Cyprus, Austria, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia's ratings were lowered by one notch.


The move represents waning confidence in the Euro and raises questions on the European Union's (EU) ability to counter the crisis.


It has also prompted Europeans politicians to demand that the UK ratings should be downgraded too.


The UK Treasury had earlier warned that any collapse in the Euro could cripple the British economy as well as the banking system, and plunge the country into a deep recession.


The agency's move also threatens the European bail-out fund, which is a key effort aimed at rescuing struggling countries such as Greece and Portugal from the crisis.


French Finance Minister Francois Baroin, however, said the downgrade is "not a catastrophe" and accused the credit rating agencies of deliberately showing the eurozone in poor light.


Some economists expressed relief that stronger eurozone economies had been spared from the downgrade.


Only 12 EU countries retain Standard and Poor's AAA ratings after the downgrade. (ANI)


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