LONDON (Standard & Poor's) July 1, 2011.
"...The negative outlook on Italy reflects Standard & Poor's view of certain downside risks to the government's debt-reduction plan over 2011-2014, and represents our belief that there is approximately a one-in-three likelihood that the ratings could be lowered within the next 24 months. In our view, these downside risks will primarily stem from weaker growth than our current assumption of average GDP growth of 1.3% during 2011-2014. In addition, we believe that extended political gridlock could contribute to fiscal slippage.
If one or a combination of these risks materializes, Italy's general government debt burden could stagnate at the current high level. In this case, we may lower the long- and short-term ratings on Italy. On the other hand, if the government manages to gather political support for the implementation of competitiveness-enhancing structural reforms, paving the way for higher economic growth and faster reduction of its debt burden, the ratings could remain at the current level."