AMSTERDAM/NEW YORK Feb 5 Rating agency Fitch
cut its outlook on the Netherlands' AAA credit rating to
negative on Tuesday, citing worries about falling house prices,
the banking system and the high state debt burden.
The other major rating agencies, Moody's and Standard &
Poor's, have already put their Netherlands' ratings on a
negative outlook. The country is one of just four in the
17-nation euro zone to have kept a full set of top ratings.
"The leveraged Dutch economy has suffered a number of
shocks," Fitch said in a statement.
It pointed to a sharp fall in house prices which it said was
worse than it had previously expected. Fitch recently revised
its projected peak-to-trough decline to 25 percent from 18
percent, and said this will continue to depress household
Persistent banking system problems - as highlighted by last
week's decision to nationalise SNS Reaal, the fourth-largest
banking and insurance group - and public debt levels that are
higher than those among top-rated peers, rounded out the
However, Fitch said it does not see the nationalisation of
SNS Reaal as sufficient grounds to trigger a downgrade of the
Netherlands' sovereign rating.
"Fitch's affirmation of the Netherlands' AAA sovereign
rating is underpinned by the country's flexible, diversified,
high-value-added and competitive economy as well as its current
account surpluses and positive net international investment
position," Fitch added.