Slog Prediction Vindicated as Fitch Downgrades Greece, to Call Default on Bond Swap

Moody’s admits it is monitoring ‘development’ of rating

Papademos rumoured to be mulling further election postponement

I have never known the major ratings agencies so tight-lipped as they have been over the last three days, but it looks like Fitch has now broken cover. Following its downgrade of Greek bonds this lunchtime, a few sources and insider tongues have loosened a little.

The AP report times the downgrade at 6.50 am EST, and Reuters has since added that ‘Fitch said it was downgrading Greece to “C” from “CCC,” and would follow up with further downgrade to a “restricted default” when the bond swap is completed.’ Fitch’s Peter Fitzpatrick had earlier today declined to comment on The Slog’s information about an impending default judgement, but American sources have since clarified things slightly.

“The main bond swap is scheduled for March 10,” a Washington insider told me within the last hour, “and at that point, they [Fitch] will name the event as a technical default. So now everyone wants to know what the ramifications are for insurance. That’ll depend on what deal, say, Hedge Funds have signed with specific insurers. But you could certainly speculate that some insurance will be triggered.”

The downgrade is an early blow for those who put the Brussels accord together just 36 hours ago….and quite possibly a victory for others who always wanted it to fail.

And within the last hour (since first posting this piece), a Moody’s spokesperson told me,  “Greece is currently rated Ca with a Developing Outlook. Moody’s is assessing the credit implications of the Greek bailout and will comment in due course.”

Meanwhile, following the Greek Environment minister’s suggestion that the elections in Greece be further postponed, there is widespread speculation in Athens that Goldman Sachs implant Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is under pressure to announce this formally.

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