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Spanish bank ratings downgraded by Fitch and S&P

Two leading credit rating agencies have downgraded some of Spain's largest banks, citing a deteriorating outlook for the Spanish economy.

S&P said it was downgrading the ratings of 10 financial institutions, including the country's two biggest banks, Banco Santander and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA). Fitch said it was cutting the ratings of six banks, after downgrading Spain last week. Ratings agencies have been downgrading European banks during the debt crisis.

S&P said its latest action resulted from the "tougher-than-previously-anticipated macroeconomic and financial environment in Spain". "In our view, Spain's economy faces dimming growth prospects in the near term, real estate market activity remains depressed, and turbulence in the capital markets has heightened."

It said banks would continue to be affected by imbalances in the Spanish economy for the next 15-18 months.

Last Friday, Fitch said Spain's high underlying budget deficit and its fragile economic recovery made the country "especially vulnerable" to external shocks.

S&P downgraded Banco Santander and BBVA by one notch, to AA- from AA. Fitch also downgraded Santander one notch to AA-, and BBVA by one notch to A+.

Source: BBC News
Date: 12.10.2011 [309]

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