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Fitch cuts back rating of five eurozone countries

ROME--Fitch affirmed Italy's “A-” ratings with a “Negative” outlook Thursday, citing the struggling eurozone country's efforts to stabilize its strained public finances and get the economy growing.

In January, Fitch, one of the top three ratings agencies, slashed the rating by two notches as it warned of serious near-term problems facing Italy, alongside Spain, Belgium, Slovenia and Cyprus.

Fitch said it had “sought to look beyond current economic and financial conditions and (to) take into account recent and prospective structural reforms that would enhance the growth potential of the economy as well as its assessment that debt stabilization and reduction is within reach.

“In addition, the affirmation reflects the demonstrated commitment of the government to reducing the budget deficit and public debt, as well as parliament's adoption of a balanced budget amendment,” Fitch said.

Fitch said it expected the Italian economy to shrink 1.9 percent this year, be flat in 2013 and then return to growth of 1 percent in 2014.

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