S&P takes axe to Europe (15)

BERLIN/ATHENS — Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit ratings of nine eurozone countries, stripping France and Austria of their coveted triple-A status but not EU paymaster Germany, in a Black Friday 13th for the troubled single currency area.

“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,” the U.S.-based ratings agency said in a statement.

In a potentially more ominous setback, negotiations on a debt swap by private creditors seen as crucial to avert a Greek default that would rock Europe and the world economy broke up without agreement in Athens, although officials said more talks are likely next week.

If Greece cannot persuade banks and insurers to accept voluntary losses on their bond holdings, a second international rescue package for the eurozone’s most heavily indebted state will unravel, raising the prospect of bankruptcy in late March, when it has to redeem 14.4 billion euros in maturing debt.

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See Also:

Humiliation of the French

The eurozone crisis is in a dangerous new phase

Debt crisis: Eurozone back on the brink as France has credit rating downgraded

A Eurozone Horror Show for Friday 13th

France credit rating cut puts eurozone bail-out fund at risk

Afternoon Updates:

12:11 pm EST, January 14th, 2012 — Where are you hiding, Mr Sarkozy?

12:15 pm EST, January 14th, 2012 — S&P’s French rating bombshell could have been more severe

12:20 pm EST, January 14th, 2012 — Ed Balls says Labour will not oppose public sector pay freeze

12:23 pm EST, January 14th, 2012 — Angela Merkel: Europe must move quickly after downgrades

12:25 pm EST, January 14th, 2012 — S&P cuts ratings of nine eurozone coutries: reaction

12:28 pm EST, January 14th, 2012 — Ireland at the end of the road

12:41 pm EST, January 14th, 2012 — Reform threat to ‘gold-plated’ private pensions

12:43 pm EST, January 14th, 2012 — The eurozone needed a French downgrade like a hole in the head

12:44 pm EST, January 14th, 2012 — Madeira’s Missing Yachts a Lesson on Europe Debt Crisis

12:48 pm EST, January 14th, 2012 — Credit ratings agencies should not amplify crisis – report

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