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The ratings agency Fitch has cut the credit rating on the Hong Kong government’s foreign currency borrowing, citing damage to the Chinese territory’s image from public protests and closer integration with the mainland.

Fitch Ratings said Friday it was lowering Hong Kong’s rating to AA from AA+, with a negative outlook.

Fitch said in a statement that protests that erupted in June have “inflicted long-lasting damage” on the foreign image of Hong Kong’s governance and “called into question” the quality of its business environment.

Fitch said the growth of linkages with the Chinese mainland will lead to “greater institutional and regulatory challenges.” It said the closer relationship was consistent with narrowing the difference between Hong Kong’s rating and that of China, which is lower at A+.