The Washington Post

Are the French next for a downgrade? Ask Paddy Power

Nicolas Sarkozy, France's president. (Jock Fistick/BLOOMBERG)

The bookies say France is the “early favorite” to get whacked, offering 2-1 odds Thursday that the rating agency will drop France down to AA+ from AAA. Paddy Power put the French in the top spot apparently after President Nicolas Sarkozy had to come out and insist no downgrade was imminent. (A fine vote of confidence in Sarkozy.)

“Early betting trends suggest that France could be next in the firing line,” the bookmaker said, “but the USA downgrade shows that no country is safe.”

While France is a clear favorite, Paddy Power is putting Canada and Great Britain — which is in the midst of battling some nasty street riots — next on the list at 7-2 odds of a downgrade.

The betting line finds Austria at 7-1, and offers odds on other countries, including: Denmark and Australia at 10-1; Sweden and Finland at 25-1; Germany and Hong Kong at 33-1 and the Swiss at 40-1.

“The long shots in the race are European microstate Liechtenstein and United Kingdom tax havens the Isle of Man and Guernsey” at 100-1, the bookmaker says.

The bookies are giving 4-7 odds that the United States will be downgraded either by Moody’s or Fitch rating service before the 2012 presidential election.

Mmmm. That doesn’t sound good at all.

Follow In the Loop: @AlKamenWP

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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