The credit ratings agency Fitch has downgraded five Euro zone countries today: Italy was downgraded from AA+ to A-, Spain from AA- to A, Belgium from AA+ to AA while Cyprus fell from BBB to BBB- and Slovenia was re-rated at AA from its previous AA+ status.
27 Leaders of European nations are reported to be struggling to finalize a pact outlining stricter budget disciplines driven by Germany at today’s half-day summit. Disputes over austerity and Greece’s debt restructuring are thwarting efforts to deliver a positive message.
Nicolas Sarkozy, French prime Minister has announced that the country will introduce a financial transaction tax to be levied at 0.1% on financial transactions. Currently no other European countries are considering following in France’s footsteps.
The US economy expanded at an annualised rate of 2.8% in last quarter 2011 against a forecasted growth of 3%. Asian markets slipped on the announcement, hurting the outlook for exporters.
Politicians and leaders across the board are united in condemning RBS chief Stephen Hester’s almost £1 million bonus as totally inappropriate in the current economic climate. The bank is 82% owned by the taxpayer.