Eurogroup anticipated Greek downgrades - Juncker

BRUSSELS Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:30am EST

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BRUSSELS Feb 28 (Reuters) - A Greek bond swap scheme with private creditors had already taken into account credit rating downgrades such as Standard & Poor's decision on Monday to lower Greece to 'selective default', Eurogroup President Jean Claude Juncker said in a statement.

S&P cut the country's long-term ratings to 'selective default', the second ratings agency after Fitch to proceed with a widely expected downgrade after Greece announced a bond swap plan to lighten its debt burden.

Juncker said that euro area member states had taken measures to make instruments issued by the Greek government eligible for collateral in monetary policy operations.

"I look forward to a high participation of private creditors in the PSI operation and take note of S&P's intention to upgrade the lower ratings following the settlement of the bond exchange," Juncker said.

Greece launched a bond swap on Friday under which bondholders will take losses of 53.5 percent on the nominal value of their Greek holdings, with actual losses put at around 74 percent. (Reporting By Robert-Jan Bartunek and John O'Donnell; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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