Belgium credit rating downgraded by S&P

The Atomium in Brussels
Image caption S&P says it considers Belgian government debt to be at "high levels"

Belgium has had its credit rating downgraded by ratings agency Standard & Poor's.

The country's downgrade could make it more expensive for Belgium to borrow in future.

Belgium's rating was cut by one notch, to AA from AA+, with S&P expressing concerns about funding and market pressures.

The move comes as the eurozone crisis threatens to keep growing, and with continued concerns over Italian debt.

"We think the Belgian government's capacity to prevent an increase in general government debt, which we consider to be already at high levels, is being constrained by rapid private sector deleveraging both in Belgium and among many of Belgium's key trading partners," S&P said in a statement.

It also said the outlook was "negative", meaning Belgium's rating could possibly be cut further in future.

"We need a reply that is clear and credible if we are to avoid the worst," Belgium's caretaker prime minister, Yves Leterme, told Belgian television after S&P's announcement.