Moody's latest to cut Spain's debt rating

Agency now expects real GDP growth in 2012 to be one per cent at best, compared with earlier prediction of 1.8 per cent.

    Spain's youth unemployment is higher than 40 per cent while overall joblessness is the highest in the EU [Reuters] 

    Moody's Investors Service is the latest ratings agency to downgrade Spain's government bond ratings.

    The company cut Spain's rating on Tuesday by two notches from A1 from Aa2, and issued a negative outlook, just days after a similar move from Standard & Poor's.

    Describing a now familiar malaise of slow growth and crushing private and public debt, Moody's in effect issued a vote of no confidence in Spain and the European Union's handling of the crisis so far.

    "Since placing the ratings under review in late July 2011, no credible resolution of the current sovereign debt crisis has emerged and it will in any event take time for confidence in the area's political cohesion and growth prospects to be fully restored.

    "Spain's large sovereign borrowing needs as well as the high external indebtedness of the Spanish banking and corporate sectors render it vulnerable to further funding stress."

    Slow growth 

    Moody's said that stress would be further exacerbated by slow growth, which would make budget cuts even more painful for whichever government emerges from general elections on November 20.

    "Moody's now expects Spain's real GDP growth in 2012 to be one percent at best, compared with earlier expectations of 1.8 per cent," the agency said.

    "Lower economic growth in turn will make the achievement of the ambitious fiscal targets even more challenging for Spain."

    The announcement comes after the agency downgraded the debt of Italy and Belgium over similar concerns.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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