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Ratings agencies take a harsher view of China's private debt

Moody's cut its credit outlook on more than 60 Chinese companies, including Bank of China, to "negative" from "stable" in February. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

HONG KONG   If Moody's downgrade of China's sovereign debt outlook was a slap in the face for Beijing, a wave of corporate rating cuts is only adding to the humiliation. 

     Sluggish demand and high leverage are casting doubt on the creditworthiness of top Chinese companies. "It's clearly a negative trend now," said Clara Lau, Moody's senior vice president for credit policy. "The trend has accelerated since the fourth quarter," she said, adding multinotch downgrades cannot be ruled out.

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