Credit ratings agency Moody's has lowered the economic outlook of 17 German lenders, most of them state-owned, from "stable" to "negative." Moody's has fixed its gaze on the eurozone's top economy this week.
Most of the 17 moneylenders now deemed by Moody's to have a "negative" economic outlook are state-owned institutions. Their outlook was formerly classified as "stable."
Moody's said in a statement that the changes in outlook for the banks were a consequence of its larger-scale decisions earlier in the week.
The US ratings agency took the exact same step with Germany as a whole late on Monday, along with the Netherlands and Luxembourg. All three countries retained their top-notch Aaa credit rating, however.
The German Finance Ministry responded swiftly and rather critically to this decision late on Monday night.
A day later, Moody's reduced the economic outlook for six German states along with the current version of the overarching eurozone rescue fund, the EFSF. Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, North Rhine-Westphalia and the prosperous southern states of Baden Württemberg and Bavaria all faced a revised economic outlook.
A change in the economic outlook has no direct bearing on the credit rating assigned by an agency like Moody's, but it can indicate a greater short- or medium-term likelihood of a downgrade being issued.
A change in an entity's credit rating usually leads to higher interest rates being demanded when it seeks to borrow.
msh/jm (AFP, dapd, dpa)