France debt rating not at risk: minister

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France's credit rating is not at risk, its budget minister said Thursday, after debt-ridden fellow eurozone members Greece, Portugal and Spain saw theirs downgraded.

France still enjoys the highest AAA debt rating despite a growing deficit, and Francois Baroin told RTL radio that it remains a "signature refuge" for lenders seeking a safe government client.

"There's no risk of seeing our rating lowered," he said, amid fears that the debt crisis in the Mediterranean could spread to other economies in the eurozone single-currency block.

On Tuesday, ratings agency Standard and Poors cut Greece's credit rating to junk status -- forcing up its cost of borrowing -- and fears increased after Portugal and Spain also saw their ratings cut.

© 2010 AFP

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