Fitch Ratings has downgraded the senior unsecured debt and preferred stock ratings of Shurgard Storage Centers Inc., a Seattle-based real estate investment trust.The debt rating was lowered from BBB to BBB-minus, and the preferred stock rating was lowered from BBB-minus to BB-plus. The Rating Outlook remains negative, the rating agency said. The downgrades reflect "a weakening trend in interest coverage metrics" over the past two years and an increase in the company's debt leverage from 43% at the end of 2003 to 53% as of March 31, Fitch said. Fitch can be found on the Web at http://www.fitchratings.com.

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