Moody's says Britain's AAA credit rating is safe – for now

As he completes preparations for what could be one of the toughest Budgets in years, Alistair Darling has been treated to an unfamiliar chorus of encouraging news from the credit ratings agency Moody's, Bank of England policy maker Kate Barker and the gilts market.

Gilts rallied on Moody's latest credit ratings update, which suggested that, even on an "adverse" assessment of the nation's prospects, a downgrade of the current cherished AAA rating seems unlikely, and even if it did transpire it would not be until 2013.

Moody's called for "additional efforts" in the Budget to tackle the deficit that "would not be out of line with historical precedents and would be politically feasible, in a context where the public support to fiscal consolidation remains strong in our view".

However, failing such efforts, Moody's warns that "a rise in gilt yields may – despite the long average life to maturity of public debt in the UK – quickly stretch debt affordability to a level that, if it were maintained over time, would not be consistent with an AAA rating".

But the relatively upbeat tone of the Moody's report saw gilts rally, outperforming German Bunds. "The UK is still a long way away from anything that would prompt a ratings outlook change" Moody's senior vice president, Kristin Lindow, told Reuters. Such comments will help the Chancellor defuse claims by his political opponents that a loss of the AAA rating is imminent.

Kate Barker, the longest serving independent member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, added that she thought a full blown "double-dip" recession was unlikely. She said: "It's possible we will have a quarter when GDP falls, but I don't think it will be a double-dip. I would be surprised if we go back to recession but I think recovery will be bumpy and fragile."

Moody's added that: "The risk of a double-dip recession seems low, although the risk remains that growth continues to be modest for some extended time.

"A muted pace of recovery creates downward risk for debt affordability."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back