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Italy, Others, Face Rating Downgrades

LONDON, Jan. 10 (UPI) — Credit assessment firm Fitch Ratings said Italy’s finances were currently the biggest threat to the euro and that Greece exiting the eurozone was an option.

At a conference in London, the head of Fitch’s global sovereign ratings division, David Riley, said Italy lacked a “credible firewall,” to protect the euro and had a “daunting” task ahead of it with obligations that come due on its debt in 2012.

With its gross domestic product growth close to flat and benchmark bond yields four percentage points over Germany’s, Fitch is considering a downgrade of Italy’s credit from the current A+ rating, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Riley said that France would not have its credit rating downgraded this year. He also said that the firm would resolve questions revolving around country’s with ratings on a negative watch. That suggests that Italy, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, Ireland, Cyprus and Portugal could have their credit downgraded by the end of the month, The Daily Telegraph in Britain reported.

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