Standard & Poor’s says it has stripped France’s sovereign wealth fund of its top credit rating and downgraded two major private French banks.
The downgrades are a direct consequence of S&P’s move to strip France itself of its top AAA-rating. French banks hold a substantial amount of their government’s debt.
The ratings agency lowered the rating of the state-backed Caisse des Depots et Consignations to AA+ from AAA late Monday. Credit Agricole and Societe Generale were also downgraded. The ratings agency confirmed the rating of the country’s other major bank, BNP Paribas.
Those three banks have been under tremendous pressure in Europe’s financial crisis because not only are they heavily invested in French bonds, but they also hold a lot of Greek debt, much of which won’t be paid back.