Italy is facing a possible credit rating downgrade that could roil markets once again

  • The rating review from Moody's is seen as a critical market test for the Italian government, and it could potentially roil markets in Europe if a downgrade is announced.
  • Expectations are that Moody's and S&P Global will announce their latest rating decisions for Italy before the end of this month.

Ratings agency Moody's told CNBC Wednesday that it's waiting to see the full policies enacted by the anti-establishment government in Italy before updating its views on the country.

These agencies offer guidance to investors on how risky buying debt is from a particular government or company. The rating review from Moody's is seen as a critical market test for the Italian government, and it could potentially roil markets in Europe if a downgrade is announced.

This comes as the Italian government plans various changes to its economy, such as increasing public spending, changing previous reforms on the pension system and stopping a planned sales tax increase.

"Our ratings are not about whether the policies are right or wrong. Our ratings are merely rank orderings of credit risk, they are an assessment of 'will you get your money back in full and on time'," Colin Ellis, managing director for credit strategy at Moody's, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe."

Matteo Salvini, Italy's deputy prime minister, looks on during a news conference with Marine Le Pen, leader of the French nationalist National Rally party, not pictured, on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. 
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Matteo Salvini, Italy's deputy prime minister, looks on during a news conference with Marine Le Pen, leader of the French nationalist National Rally party, not pictured, on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. 

He added that Moody's is "not driven by short-term movements or reactions either in markets or from politicians," but that the current rating is "under review for downgrade."

Italy has been working on its 2019 budget and is due to send it to the European Commission for analysis by next Monday. Expectations are that Moody's and S&P Global will announce their latest rating decisions for Italy before the end of this month.

Markets have been on edge regarding Italy's new government and its new policy direction. The overall concern is that the extra spending will make its public debt pile unsustainable, raising the possibility of a debt crisis in the future.

Ellis from Moody's pointed out that in Italy's case "we are talking about a very safe credit here and possibly a small movement in the rating."

Back in Rome, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said Wednesday morning that if investors are betting that Italy will backtrack on its budget plans, they would be wrong.

Salvini, leader of the right-wing Lega party, which currently shares power with the Five Star Movement, also said that large financial institutions are ganging up on Italy so they can buy up Italian companies, Reuters reported.