Market Update

Fitch has downgraded the UK’s government debt rating to “negative” from “stable” following the mini-budget.

The ratings agency warned that the “large and unfunded fiscal package” could lead to a significant increase in the government’s deficits over the medium term.

The large and unfunded fiscal package announced as part of the new government’s growth plan could lead to a significant increase in fiscal deficits over the medium term.

The credit rating agency’s decision follows a similar move from S&P.

The ratings agency said the lack of independent budget forecasts, as well as an apparent clash the Bank of England’s strategy to curb inflation had “negatively impacted financial markets’ confidence and the credibility of the policy framework, a key long-standing rating strength”.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has reversed the government’s original plan of scrapping the 45% income tax rate for top earners, but Fitch said this was not enough to change its assessment.

Although the government reversed the elimination of the 45p top rate, the negative impact of the tax package, and related financial market volatility, on public opinion and the government’s weakened political capital could further undermine the credibility of and support for the government’s fiscal strategy.”

Fitch has also warned that the UK’s economy will shrink next year, despite the mini-budget.

The ratings agency forecast the UK’s general government deficit would reach 7.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year and 8.8% in 2023, while general government debt would rise to 109% of GDP by 2024.

Euro zone government bond yields edged back towards September’s multi-year highs on Thursday as investors await the minutes from the European Central Bank’s September meeting for clues on the future pace of tightening.

The ECB raised their three key interest rates by 75 basis points each at that policy meeting and signalled they expected interest rates to rise further in the coming meetings to bring inflation back towards their 2% medium-term target.

The minutes will be scrutinised for hints on how high the central bank plans to take rates and whether there was any discussion on the central bank’s plans to shrink its balance sheet.

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