WASHINGTON - Municipal issuers continued to be plagued by downward credit pressure in the first quarter of 2009 as downgrades began to eclipse upgrades in major muni sectors, which face negative outlooks going forwards, Moody's Investors Service said in a report issued yesterday.

The ratio of upgrades to downgrades fell to 0.8 to 1 from 1.1 to 1 in the previous quarter, putting it at its lowest point since the 2003 quarter following the last recession, Moody's said.

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