Moody's raises outlook for Spain's banks to positive, ending 7-year negative rating

Credit ratings agency Moody's says it has raised its outlook for Spain's banks to positive, scrapping the negative rating it had held for seven years.

The agency said in a statement Thursday that the upgrade reflected its estimation of bank credit worthiness over the next 12-18 months, adding that Spain's "robust economic recovery" was strengthening the country's financial institutions.

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Spain, European Union's fifth-largest economy, was hit hard by the financial crisis and only emerged from a double-dip recession at the end of 2013.

The economy has expanded for the past seven quarters and is among the fastest-growing in the EU, with a forecast 3.1 percent rate this year.

Moody's Investor Services' sovereign debt rating for Spain is Baa2 with a positive outlook.