Belgium takes a credit hit

NEW YORK (AP) -- Moody's Investors Services says it downgraded Belgium's credit rating by two notches, citing strains on eurozone countries as they try to finance their heavy debt loads.

The ratings agency says it cut the nation's local- and foreign-currency government bond ratings on Friday to "Aa3" from Aa1," with a negative outlook. The ratings remain investment grade.

Moody's says the downgrade comes as soaring borrowing costs strain the finances of heavily indebted countries that use the euro, like Belgium. The strains are also making it difficult for Belgium to reduce debt and rein in spending.

Also being taken into account are increasing risks to Belgium's economic growth and concerns about the small nation's banking sector.

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