A group of 13 Italian banks have had their credit ratings downgraded amid growing fears about their country's financial prospects.
Moody's Investors Service has announced it has cut the long-term debt and deposit ratings of ten of the nation's financers by one or two notches and the issuer ratings of three companies.
This follows on from the group's decision to reduce Italy's sovereign debt rating from A3 to Baa2 - just two notches above junk status - last week (13 July) due to the effects of the ongoing eurozone debt crisis and risks surrounding the nation's liquidity.
Moody's explained that the weakness of the country's central financial system makes it more likely that its government would be unable to provide economic support to debt-stricken banks.
Therefore, financiers with standalone ratings at or near Baa2 have "seen the support uplift in their debt ratings reduced by one or two notches", the body added.
By Claire Archer