Fitch cuts Jamaica to C on debt exchange

NEW YORK Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:34pm EST

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NEW YORK Feb 12 (Reuters) - Fitch on Tuesday cut Jamaica's sovereign credit rating to C on the country's debt exchange, following on the heels of a downgrade by Standard & Poor's earlier in the day.

If completed, the country's domestic debt exchange "would constitute a 'distressed debt exchange' (DDE)" in line with Fitch criteria, the rating agency said in a statement.

"The debt exchange announced by the government entails extension of maturities and reduction in coupons for the affected debt instruments," the agency added.

"Although the operation does not involve a 'haircut' on principal, the proposed exchange does imply an adverse change in the terms of government domestic debt."

S&P earlier in the day cut Jamaica to selective default. Moody's Investors Service rates the country B3 with a stable outlook.

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