Fitch cuts French banks’ ratings after downgrading the country

Marion Dakers
FRENCH banks including Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole were hit by credit rating downgrades yesterday in the wake of the country’s rating cut.

Fitch said it had lowered the status of the banks from A+ to A, following its decision to lower France’s credit score from AAA to A+ last week.

“The downgrade of the French state… means that Fitch considers its ability to support French banks has decreased slightly,” it said yesterday.

The agency also reduced the rating of several French regions and the state postal service La Poste to reflect the nation’s new status.

This week Fitch also lowered the rating of Europe’s rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, to AA+.

France, Europe’s second-biggest economy, lost its prized AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s last year. Fitch said its downgrade was prompted by a higher state debt level, which it now expects to peak at 96 per cent of GDP next year, and the uncertain growth outlook for the Eurozone currency bloc.