Moody’s lowers German, Austria banks

The international rating agency cut its debt rating on several European banks on Wednesday, as the banks would reportedly face risks if the crisis in the euro area increased.

Moody’s said the ratings of German banks were lowered due to mounted risk of further shocks emanating from the debt crisis in the eurozone.

The downgraded German banking groups were Commerzbank, DekaBank, DZ Bank, Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg, Landesbank Hessen-Thueringen and Norddeutsche Landesbank.

The agency also demoted Austria’s three biggest banks–Erste Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) and Bank Austria–following the banks’ exposure to the economic crisis in eastern Europe.

The downgrade of the Erste Bank and RBI was because they were strongly exposed in eastern Europe, particularly in Hungary and Romania, while the cut of Bank Austria was justified by the unstable condition of its Italian parent, the agency said in a statement.

Moody’s also lowered debt rating on two Greek banks controlled by stronger French organizations. It said that the cut on Emporiki Bank of Greece and General Bank of Greece reflected “risks emanating from the increasing probability of Greece exiting the euro area.”

Greece is the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis. It is headed for the second parliamentary elections, expected on June 17, following a political impasse since May 6 elections, when no party gained enough seats to form a government and efforts to create a coalition government ended in failure.

There are worries that more delays in resolving the eurozone debt crisis could push not just Europe but much of the rest of the developed world back into recession.


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