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Fitch affirms Britain at 'AA+', outlook stable

(Xinhua)    08:26, December 19, 2013
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LONDON, Dec. 18 -- Fitch Ratings, a London-based international credit rating agency, on Wednesday affirmed Britain's long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at AA+, with a stable outlook on the long-term IDRs.

Fitch downgraded the Britain's sovereign credit rating from triple A to AA+ on April 19.

The agency said the recovery of British economy had strengthened since its last review in April 2013. But the country's performance since the 2008 financial crisis remained lagged behind most of its rated peers.

The level of gross domestic product (GDP) is still 2.5 percent below its pre-crisis peak, compared with 5.5 percent above the peak in the United States and 2.6 percent above in Germany.

The world's seventh largest economy grew at a quarterly pace of 0.8 percent in the third quarter of 2013, higher than the 0.4 and 0.7 percent expansion in the first two quarters this year.

Fitch said the economic pick-up this year is predominantly cyclical, driven by stronger household consumption and housing investment.

The credit rating agency also expected the British economy to grow by 2.3 percent in 2014 and 2015, following a forecast of 1.4 percent in 2013, while maintaining its view that the medium-term growth potential was in the range of 2 to 2.25 percent.

The 2013 Autumn Statement, which was released on Dec. 5, reinforced the government's commitment to a multi-year fiscal consolidation path, said Fitch.

It said Britain's budget deficit, or public sector net borrowing (PSNB), is expected to narrow to 6 percent of GDP in 2013-14 fiscal year from 11 percent in 2009-10, despite the unfavorable macroeconomic dynamics during most of the period.

"In the coming years a strengthening economic recovery will support the fiscal consolidation efforts," said Fitch.

Fitch also expects gross general government debt (GGGD) of Britain to peak at 94 percent of GDP in 2015-16 and to start falling in 2017-18.

"The consolidation plans of the government are ambitious over the medium term as they envisage a fall in public sector consumption of goods and services to a historical low of 16.4 percent of GDP by 2018-19, from 21.7 percent in 2012-13." said the credit rating agency.

British current account deficit, however, is expected to widen to 3.9 percent of GDP in 2013 from 1.5 percent in 2011, said Fitch.

(Editor:ZhangQian、Yao Chun)

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