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Fitch Ratings on Monday lowered the sovereign credit rating outlooks for six emerging market economies to reflect higher risks to creditworthiness stemming from the global financial crisis and economic slowdown.

The outlooks on the long-term foreign currency ratings for South Korea, Mexico, Russia and South Africa, were revised down to "negative" from "stable," Fitch, one of the three major international credit ratings agencies, said in a release. A negative outlook means there is a greater chance of the actual credit rating being downgraded.

Outlooks on Chile and Malaysia, meanwhile, were lowered to "stable" from "positive," the agency said.

South Korea's A+ rating is four notches below Fitch's highest of AAA and six notches above "speculative" grade, generally regarded as "junk."

Russia, Mexico and South Africa are all rated BBB+, three levels above "speculative." Chile is at A, and Malaysia is at A-.

"The profound shift in the global economic and financial outlook pose significant real economy and policy challenges for emerging markets," David Riley, head of Fitch's Global Sovereign Ratings Group, said in a statement.


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