S&P downgrades France's credit rating again

Updated: 2013-11-08 21:44

By Li Xiang in Paris (chinadaily.com.cn)

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Standard & Poor's on Friday cut France's credit rating by one notch to "AA", saying that reforms initiated by the French government are likely to fail to boost growth and fix public finances.

"The downgrade reflects our view that the French government's current approach to budgetary and structural reforms to taxation, as well as to product, services, and labor markets, is unlikely to substantially raise France's medium-term growth prospects," S&P said in a statement.

The rating agency also cited the government's inability to significantly reduce public spending and the country's persistently high unemployment as reasons for the poor economic outlook.

In response to the downgrade, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said he "regrets the inaccurate and critical judgments made by the rating agency" and added that the government has already implemented major reforms.

S&P said it expected the French government debt to reach 86 percent of GDP by 2015 and that the unemployment rate was unlikely to go below 10 percent until 2016.

Friday's downgrade of France's credit rating is the second by S&P in two years. The country lost its top-rated AAA status in January 2012.

The new downgrade puts increased pressure on French President Francois Hollande, who is facing sharp criticism at home over ineffective reforms and a Robin Hood tax policy on the rich. Hollande has become the most unpopular French president on record with a recent public opinion poll showing that only 26 percent of French people approve of him.