NPR : News

Filed Under:

    Citing Eurozone Crisis, Fitch Threatens Downgrade Of 6 EU Countries

    Fitch ratings agency, one of the big three, said today that it was considering downgrading the credit ratings of six Euro-zone countries. Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Cyprus could see their their rating cut by one or two notches.

    The AP reports:

    "Fitch says that following last week's EU summit, it 'has concluded that a "comprehensive solution" to the eurozone crisis is technically and politically beyond reach.'

    "It expects to complete the review of the countries' ratings by the end of January."

    Fitch also kept France's rating intact, which as the AP reports is a big deal because it keeps the underpinning of the European bailout intact.

    Fitch's decision, however, comes just after the EU received a rash of bad news:

    -- Ireland said today that its economy had contracted 1.9 percent in the third quarter, worst than predicted. As The Guardian puts it, it signifies that "Ireland's problems are far from over." The Financial Times adds that the poor GDP numbers won't encourage other countries to take on austerity measures the way Ireland did. The FT says the news spoils "Ireland's emerging image as a 'poster boy' for other debt-laden peripheral eurozone economies."

    -- The S&P downgraded six Portuguese banks to junk status. The AP reports that "the announcement cranked up the pressure on Portugal and the wider eurozone, which is scrambling to free itself from a debt crisis."

    -- The AP adds: "Spain's central bank reported that debt levels for the country's 17 regions have soared 22 percent over the past year. EU officials in Brussels warned that private creditors were resisting EU efforts to write off euro100 billion ($130 billion) in Greek debts."

    Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


    Rapid Learners: How Pixar Animators Created A Very Scary River

    What would a small dinosaur look like in Class V rapids? That's the question Pixar filmmakers had to answer for their film The Good Dinosaur. So they piled into a raft to figure it out for themselves.

    We Tried A Futuristic Cranberry. It Was Fresh And Naturally Sweet

    Cranberry breeders in Wisconsin have developed a berry that's tart but also sweet, like a Granny Smith apple. They say the variety isn't ready for production but could one day become a fresh product.

    Downed Russian Military Jet Heightens Debate Over Syria No-Fly Zone

    Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and others are supporting the idea of a no-fly zone over Syria to try to help civilians there. But skeptics say it no longer has any relevance to today's Syrian crisis.

    Used Rocket Is A New Breakthrough For Blue Origin's Space Plan

    Blue Origin, the space company founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, has sent a craft past the edge of space and then landed its rocket safely – and vertically — in Texas.

    Leave a Comment

    Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.