Standard & Poor’s downgraded France’s sovereign debt rating to AA+.
The AP says France’s finance minister announced the downgrade, which could affect the European Union’s bailout fund. France and Germany have been the Eurozone’s pillars and their good credit has supported the rescues of countries like Ireland and Greece.
If you remember S&P downgraded the United States’ credit rating in August. The other two major ratings agency kept the country’s top-notch rating.
We’ll have more on this story as it develops.
Update at 2:50 p.m. ET. AA Or AA+?
The AP is reporting that S&P cut the rating to AA, but several other news sources, including the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and France 24, are reporting it’s been cut to AA+. We’re going with AA+ for now. But we’ll revise if we need to.
Update at 2:35 p.m. ET. Rating Cut ‘Isn’t A Catastrophe’:
The Wall Street Journal, which is running a live blog on the news, reports that François Baroin, France’s finance minister, sought to minimize the effect the downgrade may have on the country and the Eurozone.
In an interview with television station France 2, he said ratings “don’t dictate French politics.”
“Of course we would have preferred to keep our Triple A credit rating,” Baroin said.
Update at 2:25 p.m. ET. No Confirmation From S&P:
NPR’s Marilyn Geewax reports S&P has not yet confirmed the downgrade, but it is widely expected they will make an announcement at 4 p.m. ET., after the markets close.
This news was not unexpected. In December, Fitch, another of the major credit rating agencies, assigned France’s sovereign debt a negative outlook.