NEW YORK May 17 Fitch Ratings Agency downgraded
Greece's credit rating to CCC from B-minus on Thursday, citing
the heightened risk that the country might have to leave the
The failure by Greek politicians to form a government
underscores a lack of public and political support for an
austerity program, Fitch said in a statement explaining the cut
to Greece's long-term foreign and local currency issuer default
Should elections fail to result in a mandate for a new
government to continue austerity measures, a Greek exit from the
monetary union would be "probable," Fitch said.
"A Greek exit would likely result in widespread default on
private sector as well as sovereign euro-denominated
obligations, despite a moderate sovereign debt service burden
following the restructuring of Greek government bonds in March,"
the statement said.
Increasingly worried about Greece's future in the euro zone,
foreign lenders and mainstream parties have stepped up warnings
that the country risks being cut off from aid if it fails to
stick to spending cuts included in its latest bailout package.
Fitch had previously lifted Greece out of default in March,
assigning the country a speculative B- rating. Fitch was the
first major rating agency to lift the country out of default
territory after a debt swap cut Athens' debt mountain by about
100 billion euros, or close to a third.
It was the first time Greece's rating had been upgraded
since the debt crisis erupted at the end of 2009 and the first
Fitch upgrade since 2003.
However, the rating agency noted at the time that there was
still a significant and material default risk.
Moody's Investors Service rates Greece a C, and Standard &
Poor's rates the country CCC.