Biz Brief: Fitch Downgrades BP Credit Rating

Fitch Ratings downgraded BP's (BP) credit rating to BBB from AA -- a staggering six notches. The credit rating agency cited demands from the U.S. Congress that BP place $20 billion into an escrow account to cover compensation and increased estimates of the size of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico as reasons for the downgrade. BP was put on negative watch for further downgrades.

BP shares held steady in London despite the severity of the downgrade, which brings BP's rating just two notches above junk. BP shares closed down 9.7% lower Monday, after already being knocked down some 48% since the explosion in its Deepwater Horizon rig.

Later today, BP's top U.S. executives are going to be grilled in front of Congress over how much the company will have to pay for the oil spill.
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