As Greece faces an unpopular vote on Tuesday over even more unpopular austerity measures, Fitch Ratings kept up the pressure by saying that it would regard a voluntary rollover of bond maturities as a default and cut the country's credit rating accordingly.
The announcement comes, according to a Reuters report, as a further push on the Greek Parliament to approve tax increases, spending cuts, and the sale of government-owned assets as measures to help bring its soaring debt under control. Citizens have been demonstrating in the streets against approval, in some cases violently, and unions have struck against privatization and cuts. In addition, polls show that most Greeks would prefer to vote down the measures and renegotiate the terms of the bailout on offer from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Andrew Colquhoun, head of Asia-Pacific sovereign ratings with Fitch, was quoted saying at a Singapore conference, "Fitch would regard such a debt exchange or voluntary debt rollover as a default event and would lead to the assignment of a default rating to Greece."