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Thursday, Jan 09, 2003

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Rating move only a reiteration: Govt

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THE Finance Ministry has downplayed the Standard & Poor's Rating Services' decision to maintain its `negative outlook' for the Indian economy, while not revising the country's long-term sovereign credit ratings at their existing `BB plus' (junk-grade) and `BB' (investment-grade) levels for local and foreign currency-denominated debt, respectively.

"Basically, it is a reiteration of what they have said in September 2002. So there is nothing new for us to comment'', a Finance Ministry spokesperson said.

The Ministry has, however, sought to derive consolation from the rating agency's statement "appreciating" the successful passage of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets Bill and a new Competition Law, along with amendments to the Secutities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, strengthening the capital markets regulator.

According to the Ministry, the observations made in this regard were "significant and encouraging''.

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