Thursday, January 19, 2012

‘Ratings agencies must be aware of actions’

VATICAN CITY: The head of the Vatican’s bank Ettore Gotti Tedeschi has slammed Standard and Poor’s’ downgrade of nine Eurozone nations, saying ratings agencies be aware of the consequences of their actions.

The head of the Institute for Religious Works, the formal name of the bank, also urged Europe and the United States to jointly work “towards kick starting the economy to regain competitiveness.”

He told Vatican Radio in an interview that ratings agencies “must be more conscious of the consequences” of their evaluation of countries and that they should “explain their actions much better.”

“We have cut the world in two,” Gotti Tedeschi said. “We have created a world of consumers in the West and producers in the East who are not yet consumers.”

S&P, one of the top three global ratings agencies, on Friday cut its long-term ratings on Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Spain by two notches while Austria, France, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia were cut one notch

Seven other Eurozone countries had their ratings confirmed. S&P said its actions reflected its view that “the policy initiatives taken by European policymakers in recent weeks may be insufficient to fully address ongoing systemic stresses in the Eurozone.”

On Saturday, the Vatican newspaper l’Osservatore Romano said the decision came at a “time when the markets were showing the faintest signs of improvement ... on public debt,” and branded the “attack” as “suspect” and one with “perfect timing.”


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