AS LEADERS of the eurozone were looking to hammer out a bailout deal for Greece, credit rating agencies lowered their ratings for several European nations.
On February 14 Moody's downgraded Italy and Spain to A3 while Portugal's rating fell to Ba3.
Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta were also downgraded while France, Britain and Austria were put on a negative outlook.
In other words, there is a 30 percent probability that the latter three nations could face a downgrade within the next 18 months.
Moody's rating change was received with a gloomy response in Britain, which tends to portray itself as a safe haven and a country at the receiving end of the Eurozone crisis.
Both the timing and the motives behind Moody’s actions were widely questioned, as was its credibility and that of other rating agencies.
Critics pointed out that the most watched countries were in the process of implementing necessary budget cuts and the eurozone outlook was slightly improving.
Fitch also downgraded the ratings of Spain (A), Belgium (AA) and Italy (A-) in February following its downgrade of five countries in January.
Standard & Poor's downgraded nine eurozone countries, including France and Austria, in January.
12. Mar 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff