French credit rating slips, but national attitude is defiant

Supporters of the Parti de Gauche and the Front de Gauche (FG) take part in a demonstration in front of French rating agency Moody's on Nov. 20, 2012 in Paris. European stock markets fell on Tuesday as investors took profits after Moody's stripped France of its coveted triple-A rating, and before more eurozone talks on Greece's latest bailout cash.

Moody’s lowered France's top credit rating this week, blaming a worsening economic growth outlook.

Sophie Pedder, the Economist Magazine's Paris bureau chief, thinks the new government is becoming defensive to the waves of criticism washing up on French shores as economic futures there worsen.

"There hasn't been a week without some form of outside view of France that's been negative," says Pedder.

In fact, Pedder's own magazine was one of those sources of agitation for the French government. They recently featured an image of several baguettes strapped together like a bomb, with the headline: "The Timebomb at the Heart of Europe."

Harsh?

"Provocative," says Pedder, adding that the situation in France is becoming severe. An economic downturn has triggered factory closings and layoffs, which may not be affecting the business at the cafes in the city,  but French workers are certainly feeling it directly.

Pedder doesn't feel like people are questioning their choice of this new government yet -- though she wonders if "perhaps there's some reservations as to whether this government is up to the job."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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