Their decisions can affect global financial markets, now the EU has set new regulations for rating agencies. The rules are aimed at increasing transparency and accountability, but critics say they dont' go far enough.
The credit ratings agency Moody's has downgraded Ukraine, blaming continuing political and economic instability. It also put the country on its list of those that could face a further downgrade.
Credit ratings agency Fitch has revised down its outlook for Russian debt to mirror the potential impact of sanctions. The move is a first step towards a full ratings cut, but Moscow claims there is no basis for it.
In a sign of growing confidence, bailed-out eurozone member Greece has returned to the bond market, raising money from private investors for the first time in four years. Officials confirmed the auction went well.
US-based ratings agency Moody's has reassessed its credit worthiness outlook for Cyprus to positive. The eurozone nation's unexpected fiscal and economic performance over the past year was cited as the main driver.
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