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FINANCE > Agency downgrades ratings of several eurozone banks

PARIS - Agence France-Presse

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A trader looks at electronic boards at the stock exchange in Madrid. REUTERS photo

A trader looks at electronic boards at the stock exchange in Madrid. REUTERS photo

The international ratings agency Moody’s cut on June 15 its ratings of banks in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, owing to deteriorating eurozone financial conditions.

Moody’s added that it continued to assess major French banks BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Credit Agricole, but did not say when it would issue a statement concerning them. The rating’s agency cut its note on the French bank BPCE by two notches to “A2” from “Aa3” while maintaining a stable outlook, and confirmed one on rival CIC at “Aa3.” Speaking of BPCE, Moody’s said: “Although France remains one of the stronger economies in the euro area, Moody’s expects that weakening economic conditions will lead to mounting negative pressures on the group’s overall asset quality.” The rating for Belgian bank and insurance group KBC was also cut by two notches to “A3” from “A2”, while its outlook stayed stable as well.

Moody’s pointed to “KBC Bank’s higher sensitivity to the deteriorating European macro-economic environment, due its exposures to markets experiencing material stress, notably Ireland and Hungary.”

In Luxembourg, the Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat (BCEE) saw its rating cut to “Aa1” from “Aaa,” owing largely to “the bank’s material borrower and industry concentrations, notably to Italian government bond holdings and to the European banking sector in general.” Five Dutch banking groups saw their ratings downgraded, meanwhile.

Two-notch cuts were applied to Rabobank Nederland, to “Aa2”, to ING Bank to “A2”, to ABN AMRO Bank to “Aa2”, Moody’s said.

The outlook for Rabobank and ABN AMRO remained stable, while ING was hit with a negative
outlook.

June/16/2012

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