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Belgium’s Leterme Meets Investors in London to Boost Confidence

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme is in London to promote Belgium as a place to invest and boost confidence among investors in the country that has failed to form a government more than a year after elections.

Together with Finance Minister Didier Reynders, Leterme will meet today with officials from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Standard & Poor’s, dealers at Barclays Plc and institutional investors, said Jerome Hardy, a spokesman for the Belgian leader.

Amid a sovereign-debt crisis in Europe and following similar visits to Boston in May and New York in June, Leterme wants to explain the political impasse to the financial community and boost confidence in the nation’s ability to control public finances. Regional political tensions in the linguistically divided nation have prevented Belgian politicians from forming a full-time government following inconclusive elections in June 2010.

S&P said on Dec. 14 that it might reduce the country’s credit ranking as soon as this month should the political stalemate interfere with the ability to stabilize Belgium’s debt, which amounts to 97 percent of gross domestic product.

Leterme “takes every opportunity to explain the reality of the figures of the Belgian economy, to convince important actors in this sector,” Hardy said. “This message comes very strongly if you come in person as prime minister.”

Moody’s Investors Service said its Aa1 rating on Belgium is “supported by the fact that it is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe and a strong international net creditor,” according to a statement today. “Furthermore, the economy has limited imbalances despite growth rates above the euro area average.”

Fitch Ratings has said the country may face a downgrade if it fails to stick to its deficit targets.

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