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Consensus puts chances of UK AAA downgrade at 35%

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The UK could potentially lose its highly cherished AAA rating in the next 12 months, according to a poll by Reuters.

Despite this sentiment, and the exceptionally weak growth seen in the second quarter of this year, a small number continue to back the Government´s austerity measures.

60 leading economists were polled on their forecasts for the coming months. 35% believe that there will be a downgrade within the next year, a big contrast to the 25% seen in the March poll.

Analysts at British banks put the odds of a potential downgrade at 33%, whereas overseas institutions put it at 40%.

However only 16 out of 43 economists said the government should relax its austerity programme.

The poll expects that the Bank of England will have to take counter measures in the form of an increase in the size of its bond buying programme of £25bn, for a total of £400bn.

Only seven of the 64 economists in the poll expect the Bank to cut its main interest rate this year, by 25 basis points (a quarter of a percentage point), which would be the first move since the Bank cut it to a record low of 0.5% in March 2009.

The vast majority do not see any rate change until April 2014 at the earliest.

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