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S&P cuts Spain's long-term credit rating 2 notches

   Standard & Poor's lowered Spain's long-term credit rating by two notches on Thursday, saying the country's budget problems are likely to get worse because of the weak economy.

   S&P reduced Spain's long-term sovereign credit rating to ``BBB+'' from ``A.'' The agency also lowered Spain's short-term rating and assigned a negative outlook, which suggests the possibility of another downgrade in the near future.

   Spain's credit rating is still in investment grade, three notches above junk status. Nonetheless, the lower rating could increase the nation's borrowing costs because investors will likely demand higher interest rates to compensate for the greater risk implied by the downgrade.

   But it is nowhere near Greece, which was downgraded to default by the three major rating agencies after its private creditors were forced to take the biggest debt writedown in history. The agencies _ S&P, Moody's and Fitch _ are expected to raise Greece's rating after it completed this week a huge bond exchange designed to more than halve its privately held debt.

   S&P's downgrade of Spain, announced after the close of markets in the U.S., was not a total surprise. Moody's, cut Spain's rating two notches in February due to the country's difficult fiscal outlook.

   S&P cited the risk that Spain's government debt will expand as the contracting economy exacerbates the nation's budget woes. The Spanish central bank confirmed this week that Spain is in recession for the second time in three years. A jobless rate of nearly 23 percent is expected to rise.

   S&P also noted the ``increasing likelihood'' that the Spanish government will need to provide further help for the banking sector.

   To go along with the credit downgrade, S&P lowered its forecast for Spain's economic outlook. The agency said it expects the economy to contract by 1.5 percent this year and 0.5 percent in 2013. Its previous outlook had growth of 0.3 percent in 2012 and 1 percent in 2013.

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S&P, 스페인 신용등급 2단계 강등

 국제신용평가사 스탠더드 앤드 푸어스(S&P)는 26일(현지시간) 스페인의 장기 국가신용등급을 현재 'A'에서 `BBB+'로 2단계 하향조 정했다.

    스페인에 대한 신용등급 전망도 '부정적'으로 평가했다.

    아울러 단기 신용등급도 'A1'에서 'A2'로 하향 조정했다.

    S&P는 스페인 정부가 자국 은행들을 지원하는 과정에서 재정 부담이 증가할  위 험이 있다면서 이같이 등급을 강등했다.

    S&P는 "우리의 당초 예상과는 달리 스페인 경제가 위축되고 있는 점을 감안할 때 스페인의 재정상태는 악화할 것으로 보인다"고 신용강등 배경을 설명했다.

    이어 "우리는 스페인 정부가 은행분야에 추가 재정지원을 제공해야 할 가능성이 커질 것으로 보고 있다"고 S&P는 덧붙였다.

    이 회사는 또 "유럽중앙은행(ECB)이 두 차례에 걸쳐 1조 유로 이상을  공급했지 만 스페인 금융부문이 분명히 좋아졌다고 보기 힘들며 스페인 정부도 노동시장 개혁 조치들을 내놓았으나 단기적으로 볼 때 고용이 안정될 것으로 기대할 수 없다"고 지 적했다.

    S&P는 "이런 상황들로 미루어 스페인의 전체 재정부채가 늘어날 위험성도  확대 됐다"고 평가했다.