Friday 20 October 2017

S&P, Fitch warn on long-term ratings of four Greek banks

The Stock Exchange in Athens shows falling stocks in red
The Stock Exchange in Athens shows falling stocks in red

Reuters World Service

Ratings agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's warned on the long-term ratings of four Greek banks as uncertainty surrounds Greece getting financial support from the European Central Bank.

The European Union aims to clinch an interim debt deal with Greece although there are "low expectations" for a breakthrough at meetings of ministers and EU leaders this week, a European Commission spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Fitch placed the long-term ratings of Alpha Bank AE , Eurobank Ergasias SA, National Bank of Greece SA and Piraeus Bank SA on negative watch.

S&P maintained its CreditWatch negative warning on the four banks, meaning that they could be lowered again.

Read more here: EU targets interim Greek debt deal by next week 

"The CreditWatch status reflects the possibility that we could downgrade the four banks if we anticipate the European authorities' and the ECB's support for Greek banks will no longer be available," S&P said.

Moody's on Monday also downgraded its ratings on the four banks as well as and Attica Bank SA.

Read more here: Greek euro exit is a 'real possibility' 

The ECB told the country's new leftist-led government last week that it would no longer accept Greek government bonds as collateral for funding.

Greece is looking at abandoning the €240 billion ($271.58 billion) bailout deal with the ECB, European Commission and International Monetary Fund.

A new debt agreement with the euro zone will allow the country to shake off much of the austerity that has been imposed by a EU/IMF bailout since 2010.

Fitch expects the negotiations between the Greek government and its creditors to be "very challenging".

An ALCO survey of 821 people across Greece found 75 percent support for the government's negotiating stance and 67 percent for its overall policies as laid out this week in parliament.


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