Up until today, S&P rated Deutsche Bank's long-term credit at A-, on negative credit watch.
The downgrade is the latest in a series of setbacks for Deutsche, which has been losing money for years, lagging its global peers and struggling to find direction following the global financial crisis.
Christian Sewing reiterated a commitment to Deutsche's turnaround in his message to staff, saying the bank will prove that it has "earned a better valuation" on the financial markets.
Government 10-year bond yields rose 1.7 points to 2.687 per cent, well off its 2.93 high last month as global risk aversion flared up.
Christian Sewing acknowledged in a message Friday to staff that "many of you are sick and exhausted of bad news" but assured them that the bank has solid capital buffers. That's exactly how I feel.
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French President Emmanuel Macron recalled the pre-World War II period, saying: " Economic nationalism leads to war ". European shares were bolstered by a long-awaited deal to form a government in Italy, but still down for the week.
The Australian sharemarket was on the back foot again the U.S. imposed sanctions on Europe, Mexico and Canada, and German banking giant Deutsche Bank hit a record low.
Deutsche Bank is one of the top five Globally Systemically Important Banks as determined by the G20's Financial Stability Board, and with total assets of $US1.5 trillion, it is the 12th biggest bank globally but with a market capitalisation of just $US20 billion, one sixth of Commonwealth Bank. "We've achieved a lot we can be proud of", he said. We can tick those boxes.
Deutsche Bank's CEO is trying to reassure employees that the bank's turnaround will succeed despite more negative news including a credit downgrade from Standard & Poor's.
Sewing last week announced plans to cut 7,000 investment banking jobs.
S&P said the lender's restructuring would be deeper and riskier than anticipated. "The bank appears set for a period of sustained underperformance".
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Sewing emphasised in his memo to staff on Friday: "S&P does not base its decision on any doubts about the strength of our balance sheet. Rather, we are simply not profitable enough".
Deutsche Bank shares have lost more than 40 percent of their value since the beginning of the year. All three parties deny any wrongdoing.
"Deutsche Bank intends to vigorously defend those charges". Given this is a legal matter, we will not be providing any further comment at this time.
The secret designation from the Fed took place about a year ago and forced Deutsche to dial back its risk taking, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
This comes after a ratings downgrade and a share price slide in the wake of a report saying the U.S. regulator viewed the lender as "troubled" previous year. Mr Sewing said: "We do not comment on the details of our dialogue with our regulators".
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The Federal Reserve classified Deutsche, which employs 8,500 people in the United Kingdom, as being in a "troubled condition" almost a year ago. "We have previously indicated that our regulators have identified various areas for improvement relating to our control environment and infrastructure". "We are highly focused on addressing identified weaknesses in our United States operations".