International rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) on Friday lowered Finland's credit rating from the best AAA to AA+ over the country's stagnant economic growth.
It was the first drop that this Nordic country suffered in at least five years.
According to S&P, the downgrading reflects the weak performance of the Finnish economy due to its aging population and shrinking workforce, weakening external demand, loss of global market share in IT sector and other relevant reasons.
The State Treasury of Finland quoted S&P as saying that the rating is likely to remain unchanged during the next two years.
Finnish Minister of Finance Antti Rinne said that the decision is unfortunate, but not unexpected or dramatic.
"The reasons have been known, and measures have already been taken. Therefore, the decision does not give rise to the need to reevaluate the economic policy, but it emphasizes the need to find new growth," Rinne was quoted by national broadcaster YLE as saying.
Following the evaluation, Germany and Luxembourg are the only two eurozone states with a full set of top-grade ratings from all three major rating agencies.
According to the Finnish Ministry of Finance, Finland enjoyed top credit ratings from all the three major credit rating agencies since 2009, and it seems to be the first time that one of the three major international agencies has downgraded Finland's credit rating since then.
Two weeks ago, Fitch kept AAA credit rating for Finland with stable outlook.
Moody's, while expressing its expectation of downgrade, has also maintained Finland's credit rating at the triple-A standard.
Finland has struggled to maintain the best credit rating despite the protracted economic decline. It would suffer a negative growth in 2014 for the third consecutive year.
Earlier in September, Research Institute of Finnish Economy Etla lowered Finland's economic growth forecast, and it predicted that Finland's debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio will reach 62.5 percent next year, which exceeds the threshold of 60 percent regulated by the European Union's Growth and Stability Pact.
Some Finnish analysts think that this may imperil credit ratings for Finland.
Reijo Heiskanen, chief economist at OP-Pohjola Group, told YLE earlier that it will not cause any problem to Finland, if one of the three main rating agencies downgrades its evaluation.
He suggested, however, that Finland should keep high ratings, which means that the government loan interest rates can be at low levels.