Fitch Downgrades United Kingdom To ‘aa+’; Outlook Stable

Several cases in other countries were likely exposed to the BSE agent while residing in the United Kingdom. The most likely cause of vCJD is exposure to the BSE agent through consumption of food from bovine origin most plausibly contaminated by infected bovine brain or other central nervous system tissue. Only four cases of vCJD infection have been associated with blood transfusion: three of these cases developed symptoms of vCJD several years after transfusion, and one died from unrelated causes before developing symptoms of vCJD, but was shown to be infected with vCJD. Measures taken to protect public health Due to the strong evidence of a link between vCJD and BSE, the UK government made BSE a notifiable disease in 1988. Since 1994, the European Union has progressively implemented control measures that have contained BSE. The main measures are detailed in the information sheet on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. Since 1999, the United Kingdom has no longer sourced plasma from its inhabitants, and as a further precautionary measure against the occurrence of vCJD, has instituted leukocyte depletion (removal of white blood cells) from blood transfusions. Some countries have prohibited donations of blood from persons who have resided in countries with higher risk of BSE. WHO response WHO has worked on: convening scientific consultations on issues related to animal and human TSEs (these meetings have made recommendations aimed at protecting human and animal health); assisting with global surveillance of CJD and its variants, by holding training courses worldwide, particularly in developing countries, to help countries establish national surveillance of CJD and its variants; convening the Technical Consultation on BSE: Public Health, Animal Health and Trade, publishing the WHO manual for surveillance of human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, including variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. WHO recommendations To protect human health, WHO has several recommendations. No tissue that is likely to contain the BSE agent, nor part or product of any animal which has shown signs of a TSE should enter the (human or animal) food chain.

At the same time, the agency has affirmed the UK’s Short-term foreign currency rating at ‘F1+’ and the Country Ceiling at ‘AAA’. The rating actions follow the conclusion of the review of the UK’s sovereign ratings initiated on 22 March and resolve the Rating Watch Negative. The previous Negative Outlook on the UK’s sovereign ratings had been in place since 14 March 2012. KEY RATING DRIVERS The downgrade of the UK’s sovereign ratings primarily reflects a weaker economic and fiscal outlook and hence the upward revision to Fitch’s medium-term projections for UK budget deficits and government debt. Despite the loss of its ‘AAA’ status, the UK’s extremely strong credit profile is reflected in its ‘AA+’ rating and the Stable Outlook. – Fitch now forecasts that general government gross debt (GGGD) will peak at 101% of GDP in 2015-16 (equivalent to 86% of GDP for public sector net debt, PSND) and will only gradually decline from 2017-18. This compares with Fitch’s previous projection for GGGD peaking at 97% and declining from 2016-17 and the ‘AAA’ median of around 50%. – Fitch previously commented that failure to stabilise debt below 100% of GDP and place it on a firm downward path towards 90% of GDP over the medium term would likely trigger a rating downgrade. Despite the UK’s strong fiscal financing flexibility underpinned by its own currency with reserve currency status and the long average maturity of public debt, the fiscal space to absorb further adverse economic and financial shocks is no longer consistent with a ‘AAA’ rating. – Higher than previously projected budget deficits and debt primarily reflects the weak growth performance of the UK economy in recent years, partly due to headwinds of private and public sector deleveraging and the eurozone crisis. Fitch has revised down its forecast economic growth in 2013 and 2014 to 0.8% and 1.8%, respectively, from 1.5% and 2.0% at the time of the last review of the UK’s sovereign ratings in September 2012. The UK economy is not expected to reach its 2007 level of real GDP until 2014, underscoring the weakness of the economic recovery. – Despite significant progress in reducing public sector net borrowing (PSNB from a peak of 11.2% of GDP (GBP159bn) in 2009-10, the budget deficit remains 7.4% of GDP (excluding the effect of the transfer of Royal Mail pensions) and is not expected to fall below 6% of GDP and GBP100bn until the end of the current parliament term. The slower pace of deficit reduction means that the next government will be required to implement substantial spending reductions (and/or tax increases) if public debt is to be stabilised and reduced over the medium term. The Stable Outlook on the UK’s sovereign ratings reflects the following factors. Selects Cartoozo as the Best Integrated SEO & PPC Company in the United Kingdom for October 2013

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