There was further bad news for the beleaguered eurozone on 13th January when 9 of its countries saw their credit rating downgraded by top ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, causing the Euro to fall to a 17-month low. Spain and Italy dropped by two points, putting the latter at the same rating as Kazakhstan, Austria lost its top rating, and Cyprus and Portugal were downgraded to “junk” status, which means that debts are unlikely to be paid in full. Of the Eurozone nations, stable outlooks were predicted for only Germany and Slovakia. But the big news, of course, was that the second largest economy in Europe, France, lost its top AAA rating.
This is certainly something of a disaster for Nicolas Sarkozy, with a presidential election looming and him lagging behind Socialist candidate François Hollande in the polls. Sarkozy is also probably somewhat aggrieved that Britain, who’s recent veto of financial treaty changes so infuriated him, for now keeps its top rating.
This news shows European leaders that they still have much work to do. The agency stated that it views measures taken so far to combat the crisis as insufficient, and that that they demonstrate “only a partial recognition of the source of the crisis”.