Moody's cuts Greek credit rating cap on euro exit risk.
SYDNEY - Greece had its highest possible credit rating lowered by Moody's Investors Service, which said there's an increasing risk the country may exit the euro region.
Greece's country ceiling, the highest rating that can be assigned to a domestic debt issuer, was cut to Caa2, Moody's said in a statement late on Friday in New York. The best rating on any Greek security is currently B1, four levels higher, Moody's said.
A Greek exit from the euro may exhaust official funding sources and rack up direct costs of e1/4360 billion ($444 billion), or 3.8 per cent of euro-area gross domestic product, Societe Generale SA said yesterday. Greek parliamentary elections on June 17 may drive the risk of an exit higher, according to Moody's.
"If that were to occur, the maximum rating Moody's would assign to Greek securities would fall further," Moody's said in its statement. "Although the risk of a euro exit by Greece is substantial, it is still not what it considers its 'central case' or most likely scenario."
Any rating changes stemming from the new ceiling, which is Moody's fourth-lowest junk rating, will be announced in the next week, according to yesterday's statement.
A Greek departure from the euro would land investors with "large losses" because of redenomination of government debt and private debt securities issued under Greek law, Moody's said. Such a scenario would also lead to "severe disruption" to the nation's banking system, the ratings company said.
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