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Economist condemns US credit rating companies

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Photo: DPA
09:06 CEST+02:00
Thomas Straubhaar, a leading German economist, is calling for the “violent overthrow” of US-based credit-rating companies, which can deeply influence the financial future of the countries they rate.

The director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on Thursday the agencies were anachronisms from the 1990s, which US regulators had “imposed” on European and other nations.

Straubhaar's tough words came as Europeans expressed frustration with credit rating company Standard & Poor's after it lowered Greece's credit rating to junk bond status, putting it on par with countries like Pakistan.

The lowered rating makes it difficult for Greece to restructure its debt and take other steps to resolve its burgeoning financial crisis, which threatens to overwhelm other European Union states.

The economist appealed to the German federal government to help come up with a new system to end the US companies' influence, which he said was unsuitable for Europe and created problems.

“These private companies drive policy, and thus produce not more, but less stability," Straubhaar told the newspaper.

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DAPD/The Local/mdm

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