Austria Stripped Of AAA Rating By Fitch On Concerns About Debt Levels

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Fitch Ratings on Friday downgraded Austria's sovereign rating to AA-plus from AAA, on concerns that its debt levels will soon be higher than previously thought and remain elevated for a longer period than expected. "This will significantly reduce the shock-absorbing capacity of the sovereign," Fitch said in a statement. Austria's general government debt ratio is expected to rise to 89% of GDP in 2015, which will put it far higher than other sovereigns in the AAA category, said Fitch. The agency views 80% to 90% as the maximum acceptable level for maintaining a Triple A rating. Austria's credit profile has been damaged by the impact of bank restructuring on its public finances, it said. The outlook is stable, which means Fitch does not expect to cut the rating again in the near term.

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