S&P downgrades Italy, cites ‘negative’ outlook for country

Italy has had its sovereign debt rating cut by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s as the European debt crisis continues to rumble on.

S&P cut its rating by one level to A from A+, adding that the outlook for the country was “negative”.

It cited fears over Italy’s ability to cut state spending and bring its finances in order, particularly given the country’s growth prospects.

The move comes just days after Moody’s suspended any action on Italy for a month in a shock move, having been widely expected to cut its own credit rating for the region last Friday.

Italy recently passed an unpopular austerity budget to try to head off a crisis of confidence, but yields on Italian debt have risen sharply regardless.

“We believe the reduced pace of Italy’s economic activity to date will make the government’s revised fiscal targets difficult to achieve,” S&P said in a statement.

“Furthermore, what we view as the Italian government’s tentative policy response to recent market pressures suggests continuing future political uncertainty about the means of addressing Italy’s economic challenges.”

Italy is the latest in a growing list of eurozone countries to have been downgraded. Spain, Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus have already had their credit ratings slashed this year.

 

This article first appeared on Investment Week.

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