Moody's Investors Service, the credit rating agency of Moody's Corp
The New York-based agency said in a statement that it is likely to act because of deteriorating financial strength of governments, particularly in Europe, increased economic uncertainty and weakness in capital markets where banks will need to refinance large amounts of debt coming due.
The expected decline of bank ratings reflects the acceleration of interrelated pressures on the banking sector since the second half of 2011, Greg Bauer, Moody's managing director of global banking said in the statement.
These pressures most immediately affect global capital markets intermediaries and European banks, Bauer said.
Moody's said it expects to put a number of banks under review for downgrade by the end of March. Ratings for many European banks will decline, the statement said.
Moody's said that banks with strong consumer franchises and stable funding are less likely to be affected by its review.
(Reporting by David Henry in New York; Editing by Gary Hill)