Slovenia resumes bond auction after downgrade

Slovenia resumed on Wednesday a bond auction halted a day earlier after the troubled eurozone country, seen as next in line for bailout, was downgraded two notches by Moody's to "junk" status.

"The dollar bond issue continues and has not been interrupted," Slovenia's finance ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The finance ministry on Tuesday delayed the sale of around $3 billion (2.2 billion euros) in five and 10-year dollar-denominated bonds due to a likely credit rating move.

Some hours later, Moody's announced it had cut Slovenia's rating because of the former Yugoslav republic's troubled banks and a deterioration in its public finances.

Slovenia's sovereign debt rating was cut to "Ba1" from "Baa2", placing it in the speculative category. Moody's said that uncertain funding prospects had heightened "the probability that external assistance will be needed."

Slovenian media speculated either the finance ministry was aware of the likely downgrade and had tried to close the sale before it was published or Moody's had "sabotaged" the country's borrowing attempt.

"Experts point out it could be a planned and coordinated sabotage of the Slovenian bond and a precedent in the regular rating practises," Slovenian news agency STA reported quoting unnamed experts.

Before the auction had been interrupted, demand for Slovenian bond had largely exceeded supply, STA said.