By Simon Miller

Moody's has put three of the strongest eurozone countries on alert for a possible downgrade as the crisis continues.

Germany, Netherlands and Luxembourg have all had their outlooks changed to negative as continuing uncertainties haunt the monetary zone.

Moody's said that the Aaa rated countries had been adversely affected by the rising uncertainty regarding the outcome of the euro area debt crisis "given the current policy framework, and the increased susceptibility to event risk stemming from the increased likelihood of Greece's exit from the euro area, including the broader impact that such an event would have on euro area members, particularly Spain and Italy".

The agency added: "Even if such an event is avoided, there is an increasing likelihood that greater collective support for other euro area sovereigns, most notably Spain and Italy, will be required. Given the greater ability to absorb the costs associated with this support, this burden will likely fall most heavily on more highly rated member states if the euro area is to be preserved in its current form."

Moody's also affirmed Finland's Aaa rating and stable outlook although it believed that Finland's economy and public finances would "continue to be challenged as long as the euro area crisis persists, in particular due to the structural problems facing its key economic sectors".

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