Fitch slashes BP credit rating owing to oil spill

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International ratings agency Fitch said on Tuesday it had slashed BP's credit rating by six notches from "AA" to "BBB", citing the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

"The scale of today's rating action has been partly driven by the increased risk that the balance between long-term and near-term cost payments may now be skewed much more heavily towards the near-term than previously anticipated by Fitch," it said in a statement.

"In particular, the recent claims by US state and federal authorities that BP escrow significant sums pre-emptively, ahead of any agreed claims process, represent a material change in approach, should it ultimately prove a legally supportable move against the company."

© 2010 AFP

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