S&P could change France outlook to negative: report

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Ratings agency Standard and Poor's could change the outlook on France's triple-A rating to negative within days, in a move signalling a possible downgrade, a French newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Citing several sources, La Tribune reported on its website that S&P was carrying out an "intense reflection" on whether to change its outlook on French government debt to negative.

"This could happen within a week or maybe 10 days," one of the newspaper's sources said.

The paper's sources said the outlook change had been due to be announced on Friday but had been delayed for unknown reasons.

S&P earlier this month erroneously announced it was downgrading France's cherished top credit rating, prompting a fierce backlash and a probe by the country's Financial Markets Authority.

France currently enjoys top marks from all three major credit rating agencies but has been under pressure amid the eurozone debt crisis and concerns over its finances.

Last week, agency Moody's warned that France's top rating was under threat amid an increase in government borrowing costs, slowing growth and the eurozone crisis.

France has fought desperately to retain its credit status, announcing a raft of budget cuts and tax measures in an effort to stabilise its strained public finances.

© 2011 AFP

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