Credit ratings agency Fitch has downgraded Barclays, Goldman Sachs, France's BNP Paribas, Germany's Deutsche Bank and Switzerland's Credit Suisse.
This comes after the Bank of France governor Christian Noyer said that assessments of a countries' credit-worthiness are becoming political, and that if France is under threat from losing its prized AAA status, then Britain - with more debt - should be downgraded first.
Manfred Gaertner, Professor of Economics at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland gives his analysis of the role of ratings agencies.
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