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Moody's downgrades Norwegian banks

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09:54 CEST+02:00
Moody's Investors Service on Thursday downgraded its long-term ratings on two Norwegian banks which it considers to be at risk if the European financial crisis deepens.

International ratings agency Moody's said it has downgraded the ratings on several Norwegian and Swedish banks by up to two notches, citing concerns over their funding position and modest earnings.

Moody's said in a statement late Thursday it was cutting the ratings on Norway's DNB Bank by one notch to 'A1', and on Sparebanken Vest by two notches to 'Baa3'.
 
The banks were both considered to have a stable outlook but in DNB Bank's case the agency cited the firm's exposure to international financial markets in order to raise money.
 
DNB Bank however rejected Moody's reasoning.
 
"We do not agree with the reasons Moody's gives... We have shown that we have very good access in borrowing money from all the major global markets - in Europe, the USA, Japan and Australia," DNB Bank vice president Thomas Midteide said in a statement.
 
The group furthermore cut its ratings on three Swedish banks.
 
Sweden's Nordea Bank and Svenska Handelsbanken were cut by one notch to 'Aa3', and agricultural sector bank Landshypotek cut by two notches to 'Baa2.'
 
Moody's confirmed the debt and deposit ratings on Swedish groups SEB and Swedbank.
 
The ratings outlook on all the groups was put at 'stable.'
 
The agency, one of the top three credit assessors, said the rating actions followed a review of some 114 European financial institutions that began on February 15th.
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