Standard & Poor's yesterday downgraded the core entities of Dexia SA to A-plus from AA-minus, while the government of Belgium continued to reiterate its support for the bank.

"We will take responsibility, as we did in case of Fortis [NA]," Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said in a television interview, according to Reuters. "Above all ... people should remain calm. There is absolutely no reason to withdraw deposits. Dexia is a healthy bank."

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