June 19, 2017 / 8:31 AM / 9 months ago

Moody's downgrades Australia's top banks over housing risk

SYDNEY, June 19 (Reuters) - Moody’s on Monday downgraded 12 Australian banks, including the country’s top four major lenders, reflecting elevated risks in the household sector.

Such risk was heightening the sensitivity of the banks’ credit profiles to an adverse shock, according to the ratings agency.

Moody’s said Australia and New Zealand Banking Group , Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank an Westpac Banking Corp were downgraded to Aa3 from Aa2.

The Australian government has taken steps in recent months to cool the red-hot property market amid concerns that speculation in housing could ultimately hurt consumers, banks and the economy. House prices in Sydney and Melbourne have more than doubled since 2009.

Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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