Fitch downgraded the sovereign credit ratings of Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Slovenia and Spain on Friday, indicating there was a 1-in-2 chance of further cuts in the next two years.
In a statement, the ratings agency said the affected countries were vulnerable in the near-term to monetary and financial shocks."Consequently, these sovereigns do not, in Fitch's view, accrue the full benefits of the euro's reserve currency status," it said.
Fitch cut Italy's rating to A-minus from A-plus; Spain to A from AA-minus; Belgium to AA from AA-plus; Slovenia to A from AA-minus and Cyprus to BBB-minus from BBB, leaving the small island nation just one notch above junk status.
Ireland's rating of BBB-plus was affirmed.
All of the ratings were given negative outlooks.