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(Reuters) - Fitch Ratings on Friday cut Italy's sovereign credit rating by one notch and Spain's by two, citing a worsening of the euro zone debt crisis and a risk of fiscal slippage in both countries.
The cuts underline the growing vulnerability of the euro zone, which is already struggling to contain the turmoil in the far smaller Greek economy and which would be overwhelmed by a crisis of a similar scale in Italy.
Fitch cut Italy's rating to A+ from AA- and lowered Spain to AA- from AA+.
It kept both countries, respectively the third and fourth largest in the euro zone, on a negative outlook suggesting further downgrades could come in future.
Italy and Spain are embroiled in the region's debt crisis and are reliant on the European Central Bank to buy their government bonds to prevent yields rising to unsustainable levels.
"A credible and comprehensive solution to the (euro zone) crisis is politically and technically complex and will take time to put in place," the ratings agency said in separate statements explaining its downgrades of both countries.