Jan 13, 2012 2 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
(AP) Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the government debt of France, Austria, Italy and Spain on Friday. But it kept Germany’s at the coveted AAA level.
The downgrades deal a blow to the eurozone’s ability to fight off a worsening debt crisis. All told, S&P cut its ratings on nine eurozone countries.
The rating agency ended France and Austria’s triple-A status. It also lowered Italy’s and Spain’s by two notches and did the same for Portugal and Cyprus. Additionally, S&P cut ratings on Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia.
“In our view, the policy initiatives 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.
France’s downgrade to AA+ lowers it to the level of U.S. long-term debt, which S&P downgraded last summer.
S&P had warned 15 European nations in December that they were at risk for a downgrade.