Can Europe survive another day like yesterday? The financial pages and the news wires carried an unrelenting series of bad news stories.
Portugal, from the BBC....
Portugal has had its debt rating cut by Fitch to so-called "junk" status, and warned it could be cut again.
Fitch made the downgrade because of its "large fiscal imbalances, high indebtedness across all sectors and adverse macroeconomic outlook".
Belgium, from Bloomberg...
Belgium’s credit rating was cut one step to AA by Standard & Poor’s, which said bank guarantees, lack of policy consensus and slowing growth will make it difficult to reduce the euro region’s fifth-highest debt load.
The rating was lowered from AA+, with a negative outlook, London-based S&P said yesterday in a statement. The action by S&P is the first downgrade for Belgium in almost 13 years and puts its credit ranking on a par with the S&P local-currency ratings of the Czech Republic, Kuwait and Chile.
The foreign- and local-currency bond ratings were cut one step to Ba1 from Baa3, the company said in a statement yesterday. Moody’s assigned a negative outlook. The country is rated the lowest investment grade at Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
Hungary’s foreign-currency debt maturing next year will soar to 1.37 trillion forint ($5.8 billion), a 48 percent increase from this year. That will rise to 1.48 trillion forint in 2013 and peak at 1.65 trillion forint in 2014 as Hungary repays the 20 billion-euro ($26.5 billion) bailout. Hungary had $51.3 billion in foreign-exchange reserves at the end of September, according to Bloomberg data.
Italy, from the Telegraph...
Italy had to pay record rates in a €10bn bond sale, despite reports that the European Central Bank was buying Italian debt in the secondary market to try to support the auction.
The auction will be a blow to Mario Monti, the new Italian prime minister, who is battling to persuade markets that he can reduce the €1.9 trillion debt burden.
Italy sold six-month debt for a yield of 6.504pc - nearly double the 3.5pc yield demanded by investors at an auction at the end of October.
The auction will be a blow to Mario Monti, the new Italian prime minister, who is battling to persuade markets that he can reduce the €1.9 trillion debt burden of the eurozone's third largest economy.
Greece, from Reuters....
Greece's budget deficit will not fall below a key euro zone ceiling in 2014 as planned, if the debt-laden country fails to decide additional austerity measures in June, a set of updated forecasts revealed on Friday.
Assuming no more measures are taken, the budget gap will narrow to just 4.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2015 instead of the 1.1 percent assumed under a previous set of forecasts made in June, the finance ministry data showed.