U.K. Keeps AAA Rating From S&P for Now as `Brexit' Vote Looms

  • S&P affirms credit grade, maintains ``negative'' outlook
  • Moody's and Fitch cut U.K.'s top credit rating in 2013

The U.K.’s top credit rating remains at risk at S&P Global Ratings, which said the possibility the country could decide to leave the European Union in a June vote represents a major risk to the nation’s economy.

Uncertainty about the outcome of the referendum has weakened the pound, undermined consumer confidence and threatened investment. The rating company lowered its outlook from “stable” in June 2015, citing the risks surrounding the so-called Brexit vote.

Both Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings cut the nation to their second-highest levels in 2013.

“A vote to leave is likely to hurt confidence, investment, and GDP growth, and is likely to have a negative effect on public finances,” S&P said in a report Friday. “As a consequence, a U.K. departure from the EU would likely lead us to lower the long-term sovereign credit rating.”

The Bank of England has warned that a vote to leave the EU would extend the downside risks for the economy, with policy makers saying the June 23 referendum is already weighing on growth. That view has been echoed by organizations including the International Monetary Fund and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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