Tagged: S&P downgrade

Ireland stung by S&P cut, pressure grows over banks

Reuters | Aug 25, 2010 | 7:16pm IST

Ireland’s government faced mounting pressure on Wednesday after a credit rating cut from Standard & Poor’s pushed its borrowing costs higher. After winning plaudits for moving quickly to tackle its deficit, Ireland is once again at the center of European debt fears with investors demanding a whopping 346 basis point premium to hold Irish 10-year debt over German Bunds, the highest level since the Greek financial crisis gripped in May. S&P cut Ireland’s long-term rating by one notch to ‘AA-‘ on fears of a substantially higher bill for supporting the banking sector and assigned a negative outlook, meaning another cut is likely over the next one or two years. Markets want Ireland to put a final price on purging its banks of a decade-long property binge but the head of Ireland’s debt management agency said that was impossible before the year-end.

“It’s a bit like waking up the patient in the middle of an operation to tell him he’s not feeling well,” John Corrigan, the chief executive of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) told Reuters Insider television. “We know the situation is pretty painful but we have to get to the end of the operation which will be in December.” S&P hiked its estimate of the cost to the government of recapitalising the banks at 45-50 billion euros ($63 billion), a figure dismissed by the debt agency in highly unusual criticism. Corrigan described S&P’s analysis as “flawed”. Fellow euro-zone peripheral Portugal managed to raise 1.3 billion euros in bonds on Wednesday but demand was below Ireland’s auction last week and the cost of protecting Irish and Portuguese debt against default rose. Rating agencies have been steadily hacking away at Ireland’s credit rating and S&P’s is now on a par with Fitch and one notch below Moody’s, which cut its rating to Aa2 last month. Both Fitch and Moody’s have stable outlooks. Continue reading

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Merkel Vows Faster Greek Aid as Spain Shows Contagion

Bloomberg | April 28, 2010 | 13:12 EDT

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the International Monetary Fund pledged to step up efforts to overcome the Greek fiscal crisis as Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain and investors sold bonds in Europe’s most indebted nations. “It’s completely clear that the negotiations between the Greek government, the European Commission and the IMF need to be sped up now,” Merkel said in Berlin today. Flanked by IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, she said the “stability of the euro zone” was at stake if a 45 billion-euro ($59 billion) loan package for Greece can’t be delivered fast. A failure by policy makers to match such talk with action has fanned concern that the crisis will spread beyond Greece. Merkel has delayed German approval of loans in the face of voters’ opposition and S&P today cut Spain’s credit rating, a day after it dropped Greece to junk status and downgraded Portugal. The euro fell to the lowest in a year. “The hesitant and haphazard reaction of euro-zone policymakers to Greece’s predicament underscores the dangers of contagion,” said Marco Annunziata, chief economist at UniCredit Group in London. “The euro-zone has taken over six months to react and is allowing uncertainty to persist. This does not bode well for their ability to react quickly should a second flashpoint burst.”

Need for Action

Speaking in Berlin, European Central Bank President Jean- Claude Trichet said the stability of the “euro zone is impacted” by the delays in delivering the Greek aid, “underscoring the need for action.” Strauss-Kahn told reporters that “every day that is lost is a day where a situation is getting worse and worse.” European stocks and bonds rallied earlier after a German lawmaker stoked speculation that Greece would get as much as 120 billion euros from the EU and the IMF, only for the Spanish downgrade to dash that optimism. The euro dropped 0.2 percent to $1.3143 and Spain’s IBEX 35 Index plunged 3 percent to 10,167 points, the lowest in two months. The yields on Spanish, Greek, Portuguese and Italian 10- year bonds rose. Spain had its credit rating cut one  

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