Will the Euro Zone stay afloat? or will some countries need to get off the boat?

It’s been another disappointing week in Europe, on Tuesday 20th November we found out….

A second major credit ratings agency has stripped France of its ‘triple-A’ status in a move that risks stoking its borrowing costs and dragging it further into the eurozone debt crisis.

Moody’s Investors Service announced it was cutting France’s sovereign rating by one notch to Aa1 from Aaa, citing the country’s uncertain fiscal outlook as a result of “deteriorating economic prospects”.

Moody’s also said it was maintaining a negative outlook on France due to structural challenges and a “sustained loss of competitiveness” in the country. The downgrade follows that of Standard & Poor’s in January.


Cyprus are about to be the next country needing a bailout estimated at £17.5bn


Spain is on the verge of breaking up.

Catalan voters are expected to return a pro-independence majority to the regional parliament on Sunday. Then a referendum will be held within two years…


EU Budget talks have ended in Deadlock

David Cameron faces more months of tough negotiations as he tries to secure a seven-year freeze in the European Union budget after this week’s summit broke up without a deal.


Why did we let things become this bad? is the Euro Zone going to stay afloat?

What we need is growth and investment, spending on infrastructure would be a good start.


Things you need to know about National Credit Ratings

On Friday 13th January 2012 we heard the worrying news that 9 Eurozone Countries have had their Sovereign Credit Ratings downgraded.

S&P downgraded the ratings of Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Spain by two notches. Austria, France, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia were all cut by one notch.

Last August America lost its AAA rating when S&P downgraded it to AA+, despite a deal being drawn to raise the US debt ceiling.

Credit ratings by agency and country


Out of the 135 Countries listed on the link above only 12 now have triple A ratings with all 3 agencies (S&P, Moody’s and Fitch) and they are listed below:












United Kingdom

The House of Lords EU Economic and Financial Affairs and International Trade Sub-Committee, chaired by Lord Harrison, conducted an inquiry into credit rating agencies and their influence on sovereign borrowing. The report was published on 21 July 2011.

The Committee’s four month-long inquiry into the agencies’ influence on the EU’s sovereign debt crisis concluded that their role in the 2008 banking collapse, which was rightly criticised, should not colour assessments of their decisions on EU sovereign debt.

The agencies have caused controversy each time they downgraded further the sovereign debt ratings of Greece, Ireland and Portugal. But the Committee said the downgrades “merely reflect the seriousness of the problems” in some Member States.

Why do the credit ratings matter?

The European Central Bank has basically said that for a year or two, it doesn’t matter whether eurozone banks find it impossible to borrow from commercial lenders in markets, because the central bank will lend what’s needed.

Even so, that doesn’t mean the downgrades will bring no pain to the eurozone. For the governments of France, Spain, Italy and so on, borrowing costs may go up.

So even if the downgrades don’t lead to default by a nation or a bank, they make it much harder for the banks – and in a way the whole eurozone – to get off life support.

The downgrades may not be lethal for the eurozone. But they keep the financial system and the economy in the sick bay.

That creates a damaging negative feedback loop (less lending means asset price falls, more bankruptcies, bigger losses for banks, and even less lending by capital-constrained banks) which makes it all the harder for the eurozone to break free of its cycle of decline.