Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Monday, May 9, 2011

Greece suffers new downgrade amid debt fears

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's has lowered Greece's bond grade further into junk status, citing risks that the country will have to negotiate an extension on its debt repayments.

S&P lowered Greece's bond long-term bond grade on Monday by two notches to B from BB-, with "negative implications" for future efforts to improve public finances. It cut the short-term rating to C from B.

The agency says Greece's creditors in the eurozone will likely extend the repayment period of the bailout loans, and that loans to commercial investors risk facing the same treatment.

European authorities have conceded they may need to do more to help Greece with its massive debts more than a year after it was first bailed out, but robustly denied the country wanted to leave the common currency.

Experts from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund are in Greece to check on the implementation of the economic reforms promised in return for euro110 billion ($160 billion) in rescue loans a year ago. They will also examine whether the current program will be enough to allow Athens to stand on its own feet again when the loans run out in 2013 — a scenario most investors think unlikely. (read more)