> ANSA English > News

Italian economy minister says rating agencies overrated

Audit court mulling 234-bn-euro suit

05 February, 17:46
Italian economy minister says rating agencies overrated (see related) (ANSA) - Naples, February 5 - Italian Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni on Wednesday said he would not comment directly on the report of a potential State lawsuit against ratings agencies for downgrading Italy's credit in 2011, but endorsed the notion that rating agencies should not be taken too seriously.

"I don't make direct comments. But I always found that the role of rating agencies as risk assessors for a country was excessive, and I believe that our action, both at the government and as the Bank of Italy, is to clarify that the judgment of the ratings agencies is not the only one," Saccomanni said. "I believe that today we measure the valuation that investors give Italy more on Treasury-bond interest rates which are falling to very low levels, and by the interest they have in our privatization and market-opening activities".

Italy's State auditor, the Audit Court, is considering suing the world's three leading rating agencies for damages over downgrades of the country's credit rating in 2011, the Financial Times has reported.

The Audit Court may be about to sue Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch for 234 billion euros over the downgrades, which increased concern about Italy's financial position and contributed to a rise in borrowing costs at the height of the eurozone debt crisis.