Italian Credit Rating Drops; Greece Awaits Decision on Bailout Funds

Posted September 20th, 2011 at 4:40 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Economic uncertainty looms over the eurozone in the wake of Italy's credit downgrade and as Greece awaits word on the next round of bailout funding.

The credit ratings company Standard and Poor's put Italy on review for a possible credit ratings downgrade in May. Monday S&P cut Italy's credit rating one notch from A+ to A and kept its outlook on negative.

S&P said several factors played into the decision for the credit downgrade including economic, fiscal and political weaknesses.

The Italian Parliament last week passed an austerity plan valued at more than $80 billion. The Italian government is hopeful the austerity plan will balance the Italian budget by 2013. Italy is the eurozone's third largest economy.

Meanwhile, Greek officials announced a second conference call with members of the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund scheduled for Tuesday aimed at satisfying creditors prior to securing the next round of rescue funds.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said his talks Monday with the creditors were “productive and substantive.”

Greece is facing default next month unless it can get the next installment of a $159 billion bailout from the EU and IMF.

A Greek default could have devastating consequences throughout the entire European Union and the United States.

The White House says U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel by telephone Monday on the eurozone crisis. It says both agree that concerted action would be needed in the coming months to assure a global economic recovery.