Italian banks' ratings downgraded

Euros and pound notesStandard & Poor's has confirmed the downgrading of 15 of Italy's biggest banks and has also cut the ratings on 15 more.

The credit ratings agency said that Italy's recession will be potentially deeper and more prolonged than previously thought.
It said problem assets are mounting and that many banks have reduced provisions for loan losses, making them more vulnerable.

UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA were two of the banks downgraded by S&P, while Banca Carige SpA, Banca Popolare dell'Alto Adige and Unione di Banche Italiane, among others, also saw their ratings reduced.

S&P lowered its rating on 34 banks in February, citing the country's financial vulnerability and expectations of lower earnings.

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