Netherlands stripped of AAA S&P credit rating

Ratings agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) has cut its credit rating for the Netherlands by one notch to AA+, from the country's previous rating of AAA.

S&P has cited weak growth as a reason for the downgrade and says it doesn't expect the Dutch economy to reach 2008 levels before 2017.

Speaking to CNBC, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said of the downgrade: "I'm disappointed by that fact, but I take it seriously because these are serious agencies which are take seriously by the markets."

He added that the housing market and pensions system are "the main factors holding back our economic recovery" and pledged to work on reforms to ensure the recovery "picks up in strength".

Better news for Spain this morning as the ratings agency has upped its outlook for the country from negative to stable, retaining its BBB rating.

Earlier this month, France's credit rating was cut from AA+ to AA by S&P. That decision was owing to high unemployment rates making it trickier for the government to introduce growth-boosting reforms.