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S&P Downgrades Eurozone's Bailout Fund EFSF
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LONDON, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Ratings agency Standard & Poor's lowered the AAA long-term issuer credit rating of European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), eurozone's rescue fund, to AA+ from AAA on Monday.

The ratings agency cited the "now-reduced creditworthiness of the EFSF's guarantors" and the absence of "securities backing the EFSF's issues" as reasons of its downgrade.

"We consider that credit enhancements that would offset what we view as the now-reduced creditworthiness of the EFSF's guarantors and securities backing the EFSF's issues are currently not in place," S&P added.

The move followed the S&P downgrade of nine eurozone countries last Friday, including France and Austria, leaving only Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands the AAA rated EFSF members.

EFSF rating is based on the ratings of the countries that guarantee it.

Following the lowering of the ratings on France and Austria, the rated long-term debt instruments already issued by the EFSF are no longer fully supported by guarantees from the EFSF guarantor members rated AAA by Standard & Poor's, or AAA rated liquid securities. Instead, they are now covered by guarantees from guarantor members or securities rated AAA or AA+.

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