S&P says it’s thinking of downgrading Catalonia’s debt rating

S&P says it's thinking of downgrading Catalonia's debt rating
People queue to lay flowers in front of ballot boxes used during the Catalan independence referendum in Pineda de Mar, on October 3rd 2017. Photo: AFP
The international credit rating agency Standard & Poors said it may downgrade the sovereign debt rating of Catalonia in the next three months as tensions with Madrid escalate over the region's push for independence.

“S&P Global Ratings placed its ratings on the Autonomous Community of Catalonia on CreditWatch with negative implications,” the rating agency said in a statement released late on Wednesday.

“The Catalan government's political confrontation with Spain's central government has escalated following a referendum in Catalonia on October 1st on the region's independence,” the statement said.

“We see a risk that this escalation may damage the coordination and communication between the two governments, which is essential to Catalonia's ability to service its debt on time and in full.”

As a result, S&P said it would place Catalonia's ratings — currently “B+/B” — “on CreditWatch with negative implications.”

The agency said it expected to “resolve the CreditWatch within the next three months.”

In Spain's worst political crisis in decades, Catalonia held an independence referendum on Sunday, although the vote was banned by Madrid.

Images of police beating unarmed Catalans taking part in the vote sparked global concern.

Spain's key IBEX 35 stock index plunged by more than three percent Wednesday in the ongoing turbulence, with some big Catalan banks down more than five percent.

READ ALSO: Catalan president says he will declare independence by early next week