RATING agency Standard & Poor's has pushed down the creditworthiness of the eurozone's bailout fund to AA+.
The European Financial Stability Facility's (EFSF) rating is based on the ratings of the countries that guarantee it.
S&P's downgrade of France and Austria last Friday meant there were not enough AAA rated guarantors for the fund to maintain its top rating.
The move comes as European leaders try to rescue under-fire efforts to deliver new fiscal rules and cut Greece's debt burden as investors ignore S&P's eurozone downgrades.
And it could ultimately hurt the European Financial Stability Facility's ability to raise cheap bailout money.
However, S&P said it could upgrade the EFSF back to AAA if the eurozone offers new credit enhancements. Alternatively, the fund could be endowed with less money, which would be better guaranteed. Moody's and Fitch, the other big two rating agencies, still have the EFSF at AAA, meaning that it would count as a top-notch investment for most funds.
While most euro countries guarantee the bonds issued by the EFSF, its rating depends on the AAA countries.
However, investors were nonplussed by the downgrade of eurozone countries, and stock markets in Europe swung into positive territory. But analysts are cautious that further downgrades are likely soon.