France would default on its sovereign debt if it unilaterally converted its euro-denominated obligations into new francs following a National Front election victory, a senior executive at ratings agency Standard & Poor’s told The Economist.
“There is no ambiguity here,” Moritz Kraemer, S&P’s head of sovereign ratings, said in a letter published in the weekly magazine’s latest edition.
“If an issuer does not adhere to the contractual obligations to its creditors, including payment in the currency stipulated, (we) would declare a default,” Kraemer wrote.
“Our current AA rating on France suggests, however, that such a turn of events is unlikely.”
Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front (FN) is predicted by most polls to win the first round of the French election in 10 weeks. She has pledged to take France out of the euro and convert its debt into a new currency. She launched her campaign at a rally on Saturday.
Rival ratings agency Moody’s has concluded that such a move “might technically count as a default”, The Economist had reported in a previous edition in mid-January.