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to 'junk'@ (Adds Lopez Obrador comments, background details)
MEXICO CITY, June 7 (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday lashed out against credit rating agency Fitch's downgrade of Mexican oil firm Pemex's bonds to "junk" status, as investors fret over the possibility that Moody's will soon follow suit.
"We respect their point of view, but feel they weren't professional, they weren't objective," Lopez Obrador told reporters at his daily morning news conference.
On Thursday, Fitch dropped Pemex's credit rating from investment grade to speculative grade, or "junk," with a negative outlook, a day after it downgraded Mexico's sovereign debt.
Lopez Obrador, who took office in December, accused ratings agencies of ignoring Pemex's woes during past administrations, and now failing to take into account his new measures to fight corruption.
A Reuters analysis of Pemex accounts from the past 10 years showed the firm's financial debt surged by 75% during the six-year term of Lopez Obrador's predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto.
The company's total obligations, including pensions, today exceed its assets by more than $70 billion.
"They turned a blind eye while Pemex was being dismantled, as Pemex's production fell, as Pemex took on debt," he said.
With $106 billion of financial debt, Pemex is the most indebted oil company in the world.
Mexico's government in May unveiled measures to help Pemex with its debts and gradually reduce its tax burden, but investors are largely skeptical the government will be able to engineer a complete turnaround without more drastic measures.
Moody's rates the company's bonds one notch above junk. If the agency also downgrades Pemex's debt, it could result in as much as $16 billion of forced selling by investors whose mandates stipulate they must hold bonds of investment-grade quality. (Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Sharay Angulo; Editing by Anthony Esposito, Steve Orlofsky and Chris Reese)