LONDON May 11 Credit rating agency Fitch put
the whole of the euro zone on notice on Friday that were Greece
to leave the currency bloc as a result of its current crisis,
the remaining countries could find their sovereign ratings at
It said it was likely to put all euro area ratings on
negative watch if Greece were to leave and that those countries
which currently have a negative outlook on their ratings would
be at most immediate risk of a downgrade.
It said those countries were France, Italy, Spain, Cyprus
Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia and Belgium.
"In the event of Greece leaving (the euro), either as a
result of the current political crisis or at a later date as the
economy fails to stabilise, Fitch would likely place the
sovereign ratings of all the remaining euro area member states
on Rating Watch Negative as it re-assessed the systemic and
country-specific implications of a Greek exit," Fitch said in a
The agency, whose decisions along with those of Moody's and
Standard & Poor's help set the cost of borrowing by governments,
said the extent of any downgrades would depend on how the euro
zone reacted to Greece leaving.
"The probability and magnitude ... would largely depend on
the European policy response and its success in limiting
contagion, as well as outlining a credible vision of a reformed
(euro zone)," it said.
"Nonetheless, the sovereign ratings of all euro zone member
states would potentially be at risk," Fitch said.
The leaders of Greece's once-dominant political parties were
making a last push on Friday to avert a new election, which a
poll showed would give victory to a radical leftist and doom an
EU bailout - its second - agreed in March.
The majority of Greeks want to stay in the euro zone but
voted last Sunday for parties that reject the severe terms of a
bailout negotiated with foreign lenders.
European leaders say Greece will be ejected from the common
currency if it turns its back on the package of tax hikes and