DBRS downgrades Italy's debt rating over political uncertainty

ROME, March 6 Wed Mar 6, 2013 3:01pm EST

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ROME, March 6 (Reuters) - Credit-rating agency DBRS downgraded Italy's debt to A (low) from A with a negative outlook on Wednesday, the first downgrade of the heavily indebted country since elections last month produced a political stalemate.

The downgrade was due to "political uncertainty ... which has called into question the government's ability to approve structural reforms" as well as reflecting the effect of recession on Italy's debt to GDP ratio, which rose to 127 percent in 2012, DBRS Ratings Limited said in a statement,

Moody's Investors Service said after the vote the prospect of new elections and prolonged political uncertainty was bad for Italy's credit rating, while Standard & Poor's said the election would not immediately affect the country's rating but could in the future.

S&P's rates Italy BBB-plus. Fitch rates the country A-minus, and Moody's rates it Baa2. All those ratings carry negative outlooks from the agencies.

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