Berlusconi enraged by S&P downgrade of Italy

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The Independent Online

The Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi attacked Standard's & Poor's decision to cut his country's credit rating as "politically" motivated yesterday, prompting the agency to defend its ratings as "apolitical".

"The assessments by Standard & Poor's seem dictated more by newspaper stories than by reality and appear to be negatively influenced by political considerations," Mr Berlusconi said. The agency cited weak growth as it lowered Italy's rating to 'A' from 'A+', leaving Rome ranked below Slovakia.

The cut stoked worries about contagion from Greece, where officials yesterday resumed talks to secure the €8bn they need to avert a potentially calamitous debt default next month.

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