Italian prime minister slams country's downgrading

S&P Monday slashed Italy's sovereign-debt rating by one notch and kept its outlook on negative. It now rates Italy's long-term debt at A and short-term debt at A-1, while its outlook is still negative, Xinhua reported.

The ratings agency said in a release that Italy's fragile governing coalition and policy differences in parliament will likely continue to limit the government's ability to respond to the challenging domestic and external macroeconomic environment.

Berlusconi in a statement released by his office said: "This government won a vote of confidence over the budget document, thus demonstrating the stability of its parliamentary majority."

"The judgment of S&P does not correspond to reality but seems to be dictated by the recent media campaigns based on instrumental political goals."

Berlusconi is currently involved in four trials on various charges.

The Italian parliament last week cleared a 54-billion euro budget document in a bid to shield Italy from fears of a debt crisis and reassure world markets following requests of a tighter budgetary discipline by the European Central Bank.

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