Ratings agency says downgrade would push up UK’s government borrowing costs and hurt its standing in global markets.
The only big credit ratings agency to award Britain the highest AAA ranking renewed its warning over the UK’s economic prospects outside the EU after David Cameron fired the starting gun on referendum campaigning last weekend.
A senior director at the ratings agency, which assigns credit scores to debt issued by governments around the world, said a Brexit vote “certainly could” affect Britain’s rating, when interviewed by Bloomberg Television.
Such a downgrade would push up the UK’s government borrowing costs and hurt its standing in international markets.
Moritz Kraemer, chief ratings officer for S&P, echoed warnings made earlier this week from rival agencies Fitch and Moody’s over the UK’s credit rating in the event of a leave vote.
“We’ve been quite unambiguous saying that if Britain leaves the EU, the sovereign rating would go down by at least a notch,” Kraemer said.
“Remember we still rate the UK AAA with a negative outlook. We think that Britain has been benefiting from EU membership; Britain has been one of the magnets for inbound investment, not only from the rest of the EU but globally.
“It’s our belief that a big part of this attraction of Britain, among other things, is that it’s a member of the EU and it’s therefore an integral part of the largest trading area in the world.”
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