German government, markets cool to Moody′s ratings outlook | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 24.07.2012
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German government, markets cool to Moody's ratings outlook

Europe's stock markets have remained stable in early trade Tuesday, digesting well Monday's shock decision by Moody's ratings agency to lower its outlook on Germany. Berlin, too, has shrugged off the move.

Germany's DAX stock market index fell a slight 0.26 percent to 6,402 points in early trading on Tuesday, with other European stock markets also remaining calm in the face of Moody's action.

After stock markets in Europe had closed on Monday, international ratings agency Moody's lowered the credit outlooks for Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg from "stable" to "negative."

Although the three countries kept their triple A ratings, Moody's said they were facing mounting risks from a Greek credit default and from potentially higher bailouts for Spain and Italy.

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Moody's lowers outlooks

Commerzbank analyst Carolin Hecht said Moody's assessment had basically contained "nothing that hasn't been known yet."

"That is why exchange rate fluctuation between the euro and the US dollar has remained in the range of between 1.214 and 1.2109," she told Reuters news agency

However, a statement issued by Metzler Bank said that the action of Moody's reflected a more "critical" stance by international ratings agencies towards the eurozone's healthier economies.

A similar statement issued by National Bank, and also carried by Reuters, said the ratings move would limit the German government's "room to maneuver" in the debt crisis and may undermine Berlin's willingness to accept the issuance of "collective eurozone bonds" as a measure of last resort.

Berlin remains unfazed

The German government reacted coolly to Moody's negative outlook for its sovereign debt, stressing that the country would remain the eurozone's "anchor of stability."

The Finance Ministry said in a statement that it had "taken note" of Moody's opinion, but criticized that the agency mainly put the focus "on short-term risks, while stability prospects in the long term are not mentioned."

Economics Minister Philipp Rösler noted that the German economy was structurally in "robust shape."

"We are convinced that recently initiated measures to enforce stability in the eurozone will be crowned by success in the medium and longer-term perspective," he told the German daily Rheinische Post.

uhe/tj (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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