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The European credit crisis spread to Spain Wednesday as a key rating agency cut Spain's credit rating by one step to an AA rating.
The action by Standard and Poor's follows Tuesday's rating downgrades for Portugal and Greece that sparked sharp declines in stock prices.
The credit rating cut reflects growing concern that these nations will not be able to repay their debts, and means lenders will charge them higher interest rates.
The crisis has been most severe in Greece, which has asked for aid from other nations that use the euro currency and the International Monetary Fund.
Wednesday, the head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn said every day that countries delay helping Greece makes the situation worse, and hurts global confidence in the eurozone.
Strauss-Kahn traveled to Berlin with European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the Greek debt crisis.
Greece has already asked to access a joint European Union-IMF aid package worth as much as $60 billion, and some European officials say the cost of the bailout could jump to about $160 billion over three years.
The bailout must get approval from the other eurozone countries (EU members which use the euro as their currency) but has run into opposition in Germany.
After meeting with the ECB and IMF chiefs, the German chancellor said Berlin will do its part to help Greece, but warned Greece must also agree to enact appropriate reforms.
The ECB is urging the German government to approve the aid package "extremely rapidly." And Germany's finance minister expressed hope a draft bill (to authorize the aid) could be ready next week, saying the stability of the euro is at stake.
During a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said his government was committed to fix the country's economy. He also called on all EU members to prevent the crisis from spreading like a fire to other parts of Europe and the rest of the world.
Greek officials have banned a type of stock trading known as "short selling," in which investors profit only if the stock loses money. The ban will remain in place until late June.
Some officials have expressed optimism, saying an aid package will be delivered before Athens must make its next debt payment, due on May 19.
Also Wednesday, Portugal's prime minister and the leader of the main opposition party pledged to work together to help save the Portuguese economy.