Sunday, November 19, 2017

Standard & Poor's defending mass European downgrade in face of backlash

RECOMMENDED READING


PARIS — Amid a wave of criticism, Standard & Poor's defended its decision to downgrade nine European countries and insisted Saturday that the region's leaders aren't doing enough to solve their debt crises.

The prime minister of France, the biggest economy hit by the downgrade, vowed to press ahead with cost-cutting measures that opponents say will suffocate growth. The loss of its coveted AAA status wounded France's self-image and market credibility just as it's facing a new recession and presidential elections.

The move Friday night may make it more expensive for struggling countries to borrow money, reduce debts and sustain growth. It also came just as crucial negotiations between the Greek government and its private creditors appeared close to collapse.

Voices rose up Saturday against the power that ratings agencies wield. Critics of S&P have questioned its credibility and relevance before because it failed to foresee the collapse in the U.S. subprime mortgage market, which helped trigger the financial meltdown of 2008.

In Germany, whose AAA rating remained untouched, a senior lawmaker with Merkel's conservative party, Michael Meister, suggested action to reduce the significance of ratings. Merkel signaled her support.

Germany's foreign minister called for independent European ratings agencies instead of relying solely on the leading, U.S.-based agencies such as Standard & Poor's.

And Vice Chancellor Philipp Roesler, who is also the economy minister, was quoted as telling the weekly Der Spiegel, "It is apparent time and again that U.S. rating agencies pursue very much their own goals."

S&P spokesman Martin Winn dismissed suggestions that the agency's decisions were political and could further hurt indebted countries. "The track record of our sovereign ratings as indicators of default risk worldwide is very strong," he told the Associated Press.

In Paris, demonstrators chanted in front of the S&P French offices and castigated the government for paying so much heed to the ratings agencies.

"The French people know what their value is, and we don't need ratings agencies to tell us what we are worth," said Raquel Garrigo, spokesman for the Left Front political party.

Comments
NASCAR ready to crown champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway

NASCAR ready to crown champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway

It's championship Sunday for NASCAR's premier series
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Trump campaign created own rules on sexual harassment

Trump campaign created own rules on sexual harassment

WASHINGTON — "You can do anything," Donald Trump once boasted, speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women. Maybe he could, but not everyone can. The candidate who openly bragged about grabbing women’s private parts — but denied he really did ...
Updated: 12 minutes ago

AP Top News at 11:05 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 11:05 a.m. EST
Updated: 14 minutes ago
15 dead, 5 hurt in a stampede for food aid in Morocco

15 dead, 5 hurt in a stampede for food aid in Morocco

Morocco's Interior Ministry says that at least 15 people have been killed and five others injured in a stampede as food aid was being distributed in a southern village
Updated: 15 minutes ago
15 dead, 5 hurt in a stampede for food aid in Morocco

15 dead, 5 hurt in a stampede for food aid in Morocco

RABAT, Morocco — Moroccan state TV channel 2M reports that at least 15 people have died and 5 others have been injured in a stampede as food aid was being distributed in a southern village. It said the stampede took place Sunday in the village of Sid...
Updated: 16 minutes ago

Magnitude 3.7, 2.9 quakes rattle Oklahoma town early Sunday

The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded two earthquakes that struck near a central Oklahoma town early Sunday
Updated: 18 minutes ago
LaToya Cantrell becomes New Orleans' 1st woman mayor

LaToya Cantrell becomes New Orleans' 1st woman mayor

It's a historic election night in New Orleans, where voters have elected the first woman mayor and the first member of the Vietnamese community to serve on the City Council
Updated: 21 minutes ago
102-year-old survivor reunites with newly discovered nephew

102-year-old survivor reunites with newly discovered nephew

102-year-old Holocaust survivor reunites with newly discovered nephew it was seems likely to be among last meeting of its kind
Updated: 23 minutes ago
102-year-old survivor reunites with newly discovered nephew

102-year-old survivor reunites with newly discovered nephew

102-year-old Holocaust survivor reunites with newly discovered nephew it was seems likely to be among last meeting of its kind
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Nick Cave plays Israel to 'take stand' against boycotters

Nick Cave plays Israel to 'take stand' against boycotters

Nick Cave, the dark poet of rock, says he is playing in Israel to take a stand against those
Updated: 1 hour ago