Dutch Retail Economy As Standard & Poor Strip The Netherlands Credit Rating

European government bonds were little changed as investors showed a muted reaction to Standard & Poor's decision Friday to raise its outlook on Spain's debt and strip the Netherlands of its top credit rating. Above, a store logo on a sign outside an Albert Heijn supermarket in Utrecht, Netherlands. (Jasper Juinen / Bloomberg / November 29, 2013)

Standard & Poor's downgraded the Netherlands' credit rating on Friday, slicing the list of Eurozone countries holding the top AAA rating to just three.

The Netherlands' ratings downgrade -- to AA+ from AAA -- can be blamed in large part on a lackluster economy driven by falling consumer confidence, government spending cuts and falling home prices.

Among the 17 countries in the Eurozone, only Germany, Finland and Luxembourg have kept their AAA ratings.

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One bright spot is Spain, which saw its debt outlook raised to stable from negative by Standard & Poor's in yet another indication that the country may finally be recovering from its years of economic malaise.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Netherlands' finance minister, said the country must reform its economy by overhauling its pension and healthcare systems, Reuters reported.

"Even though we are moving out of the crisis -- we will have growth next year -- it's still too low," he said according to Reuters. "We have to get higher figures in order to become a triple-A country again, which is of course our ambition."

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