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Moody's downgrades Portugal's debt

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Portugal is the latest European nation to get slapped with a downgrade on its debt. On Tuesday, Moody's Investors Services took Portugal's bond rating down a few notches, citing a foundering economy.

Moody's downgraded Portugal's government bond ratings to A1 from Aa2, saying this stemmed from "ongoing deterioration in the country's debt metrics."

"This deterioration came about due to the government's anti-crisis measures and the operation of the budget's automatic stabilizers, such as higher unemployment benefits, when the economy went into recession," wrote Anthony Thomas, vice president and senior analyst in Moody's sovereign risk group.

The rating agency also said the country's economy is "likely remain relatively weak unless recent structural reforms bear fruits over the medium to longer term."

Going forward, Moody's defined Portugal's rating outlook as "stable, with the upside and downside risks evenly balanced."

Moody's had placed Portugal's bond ratings on review for possible downgrade on May 5. Back in October 2009, the rating agency had changed the outlook on the Aa2 to negative from stable.

Portugal is a member of the so-called PIGS, a club of economically woeful nations in Europe, including Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

On April 27, Standard & Poor's downgraded the sovereign ratings of Greece and Portugal to junk status, citing weak "macroeconomic structures." Moody's had downgraded Greece's government bonds just days beforeTo top of page

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