Fitch Downgrades Five Eurozone Nations

Posted: Jan 27, 2012 6:13 PM

Not exactly the most outrageous breaking news, but yet another symptom of Europe's deteroriating financial condition. All is still far from well in the eurozone, which sure as heck doesn't benefit us, either:

FRANKFURT, Germany — Fitch Ratings downgraded the debt of Italy, Spain and three other countries that use the euro on Friday, a possible setback as European leaders work to contain the continent’s debt crisis.

The lower government-debt ratings for Italy, Spain, Belgium, Cyprus and Slovenia could make it more expensive for these countries to borrow.

Fitch said its decision was based on the deteriorating economic outlook in Europe, a concern that Europe’s bailout fund is not large enough and a belief that European leaders are not acting quickly or boldly enough to prevent the debt crisis from worsening. ...

Government debt ratings can play a significant role in determining countries’ borrowing costs. The higher the costs the greater the likelihood of default for a heavily indebted country.

Ireland, Greece and Portugal have been cut off from bond market borrowing because of investors’ fears that they might default. They have had to take bailout loans from other eurozone governments and the International Monetary Fund.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...