French Banks Poised for Moody’s Downgrade


Helene Fouquet
Bloomberg
September 11, 2011

BNP Paribas (BNP) SA, Societe Generale SA and Credit Agricole SA (ACA), France’s largest banks by market value, may have their credit ratings cut by Moody’s Investors Service as soon as this week because of their Greek holdings, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Moody’s placed the three banks’ ratings on review in June to examine “the potential for inconsistency between the impact of a possible Greek default or restructuring and current rating levels,” the rating company said at the time. Cuts are likely as the review period concludes, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Group of Seven finance chiefs vowed on Sept. 9 to support banks and buoy slowing economic growth as Europe’s debt crisis roiled financial markets and threatened a global recession. Renewed fears that European policy makers are failing to prevent a Greek default and contain their debt woes prompted investors to sell stocks and push the euro to a six-month low against the dollar. European bank and sovereign credit risk reached all-time highs as 10-year Treasury and German bund yields fell to record lows on demand for a haven.

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