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Portugal's debt agency IGCP slams Moody's as arrogant after downgrade

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Portugal's public debt agency IGCP has criticized the rating agency Moody's as 'arrogant' in downgrading the country's credit rating to junk, the news agency Lusa said Friday. The IGCP sent an e-mail to investors who had bought Portuguese debt, telling them that the rating agency's 'superficial' decision was based on 'opinions rather than proof.' Moody's had been 'arrogant' in ignoring the opinion of the 'troika' formed by the European Union, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the IGCP said in a letter quoted by Lusa. The 'troika' issued a more positive assessment of Portugal's economic situation on granting Lisbon a 78-billion-euro (112-billion-dollar) bailout in early May.

Moody's had not even given 'the benefit doubt' to Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho's new government, the IGCP complained. The government, which took office in June, has pledged austerity measures going even further than the EU and IMF requested. The IGCP urged investors to evaluate Portugal's financial credibility themselves, instead of relying on rating agencies. The IGCP is a government organ tasked with managing the treasury and public debt.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Spain, a Spanish member of the ECB executive board also criticized rating agencies. They were part of the problems that had created the global crisis, Jose Manuel Gonzalez Paramo told Intereconomia radio. Moody's announcement earlier this week that it was downgrading Portugal's debt has also sparked criticism from the European Commission and from the German government.

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