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Retaining AAA credit rating top priority for gov't: Danish PM

(Xinhua)

10:30, January 18, 2012

COPENHAGEN, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said Tuesday that retaining the country's AAA credit rating is the highest priority for her government, highlighting its impacts on the country's economic growth.

"Credit ratings may sound a little abstract, but they have a concrete impact on the lives of ordinary Danes," Thorning-Schmidt said at her weekly press conference in Copenhagen.

"So long as other countries trust our creditworthiness, we have the possibility of maintaining a low interest rate, and that helps ensure employment," she added.

The comments follow the recent downgrading of credit ratings of nine out of 17 euro zone countries by ratings agency Standard & Poor's.

Denmark is now one of just 12 countries globally to retain its AAA rating with major international ratings agencies. The AAA rating ensures Denmark can borrow more cheaply on the international financial markets, and signals it has relatively sound public finances in a time of EU debt crisis.

"If one is to be independent of the financial markets, the only way to do so is to have sound public finances. And therefore that is our top priority," Thorning-Schmidt said, referring to the top rating.

Denmark has appeared as a relative safe haven for investors in recent months: it retains its own currency, the Danish krone, which is pegged to the euro common currency at a fixed rate, but means Denmark is not directly exposed to euro zone turmoil. As such, investors have eagerly purchased Danish state bonds, despite bond yields dropping to historic lows.

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