ECONOMY

Top rating agencies issue warning

Greece must learn to live under the constant threat of a new credit downgrade – after all, three major international agencies sent such warnings yesterday. Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch made simultaneous statements that lent discreet support to the government’s Stability and Growth Program, saying that in principle it contains the right measures but they will await its application as it is uncertain whether the plan can be translated into reality. S&P’s leading official Marko Mrsnik gave Greece three months to show its commitment to streamlining its economy, otherwise a fresh downgrade will be imminent. «If in this period Greece applies successfully a plan including measures to reduce the deficit or other economic reforms that could lead to a sustainable improvement of the course of the debt, the evaluation can be reaffirmed,» he stated, before acknowledging that the government will have to shake off pressure from union groups. Moody’s maintained its negative outlook on Greece, suggesting that the government’s program is in line with the agency’s assessment but its application remains to be seen. There is uncertainty as to whether Athens can reduce the deficit and return to growth, it stated. Success will depend on three factors: the full application of the program, the extent to which society will accept the structural economic reforms, and regaining market confidence with the further announcement of statistical data. Fitch, in turn, expressed doubts about the extent to which the government will be able to put into practice the program it has presented, given what has happened in the past.