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French Downgrade Widens Gulf With Germany as Talks Loom: Economy

Businessweek - Nov 20, 2012

France’s loss of the top credit rating at Moody’s Investors Service may weaken President Francois Hollande’s leverage in European budget talks and deepen concern in Germany over its neighbor’s lagging competitiveness.

The downgrade late yesterday of Europe’s second-biggest economy underscores the concern expressed by allies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Socialist Hollande’s failure to recognize the urgency of France’s woes risks a deepening of Europe’s slump.

“This downgrade will certainly increase pressure on France big-time,” Jan Techau, director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace office in Brussels, said today in a phone interview. “It gives Germany more of an edge over France.”

With French bonds rallying since Standard & Poor’s stripped the country of its AAA credit rating in January, the impact of the Moody’s downgrade may be more political than financial. Just last week, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble spoke out against his countrymen calling France the “sick man” of Europe. The day before, France’s Liberation newspaper ran a front-page article highlighting German anxiety about Hollande’s policies.

Read Full Article from Businessweek

- Posted: 2012-11-20 14:38:26


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