Standard & Poor’s slashed France’s golden credit rating for the first time on Friday. French Finance Minister Francois Baroin confirmed the news as markets fell on reports that more euro-zone downgrades are expected. Though Standard & Poor’s has not yet commented on the situation, Italy and Austria are also expected to lose their AAA ratings. Global markets sank at opening as rumors swirled about the downgrades, while the euro dropped to $1.263 against the dollar—a new 16-month low. A downgrade will have an immediate, though not catastrophic, impact on the countries’ ability to borrow money. Germany and the Netherlands are expected to be spared cuts.
BAD NEWS Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters-Landov