French debt downgrade unjustified: IMF chief economist
AFP, Tuesday 26 Nov 2013
Standard & Poor's downgrades French Sovereign Debt and IMF criticises the move

The recent decision by debt rating agency Standard & Poor's to downgrade French sovereign debt was not justified, the International Monetary Fund's chief economist said in a newspaper interview Tuesday.

"Even if France hasn't fully recovered yet, I don't see any substantial risk -- or even an increased risk -- that it won't be able to service its debt," Olivier Blanchard told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

"So, yes, in this sense I do think that the downgrade wasn't justified," he said.

"The situation in France isn't rosy, but not as as bad as it is sometimes portrayed," Blanchard said, noting that France had significantly reduced its public deficit this year.

Earlier this month, S&P cut its rating on French sovereign debt by one notch from "AA+" to "AA".