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Fitch says Argentina default is 'probable'

Associated Press Modified: November 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm •  Published: November 27, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — The credit rating agency Fitch Ratings on Tuesday downgraded Argentina, which is locked in a court battle in New York over its debt, and said the country would probably default.

Fitch cut its long-term rating for Argentina to "CC" from "B," a downgrade of five notches, and cut its short-term rating to "C'' from "B." A rating of "C'' is one step above default.

U.S. judge Thomas Griesa of Manhattan federal court last week ordered Argentina to set aside $1.3 billion for certain investors in its bonds by Dec. 15, even as Argentina pursues appeals.

Those investors don't want to go along with a debt restructuring that followed an Argentine default in 2002. If Argentina is forced to pay in full, other holders of debt totaling more than $11 billion are expected to demand immediate payment as well.

Argentine politicians, even those opposed to President Cristina Fernandez, have nearly unanimously criticized the judge's ruling as threatening the success of the debt relief that enabled Argentina to grow again.

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