Fitch downgrades Britain from triple-A credit rating | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 19.04.2013
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Fitch downgrades Britain from triple-A credit rating

The credit ratings agency Fitch has stripped Britain of its triple-A status amid concerns that the country may once again have fallen into recession. The company dropped the UK’s rating by one notch.

Fitch said on Friday that it had dropped Britain's government bond rating by one place to AA+ in light of sluggish economic growth.

"The downgrade of the UK's sovereign ratings primarily reflects a weaker economic and fiscal outlook," Fitch wrote in a statement on its website.

Fitch said the downgrade had been deemed necessary because Britain did not have the capacity to absorb adverse economic and financial shocks normally associated with a triple A rating.

However, the agency removed the "negative outlook" that had had been in place since March 2012, removing the threat of any further credit downgrade in the near future. Fitch claimed that the UK still had "an extremely strong credit profile."

Britain's flagging economy has held back the government's deficit reduction program and prompted criticism that austerity measures stalled growth.

The move comes almost two months after rival agency Moody's also stripped Britain of a triple-A debt rating, citing mounting debt and weak growth.

Official economic data is to be released next week which will show whether Britain fell into recession in the first quarter of 2013. The country recorded negative growth of 0.3 percent of gross domestic product in the last quarter of 2012.

rc/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)