Fitch: Scottish independence wouldn’t affect UK AAA rating

Rating agency Fitch Ratings has reported that Scottish independence would “probably” have a neutral impact on the residual UK’s AAA sovereign credit rating.

However, the ratings agency reports that it is “impossible at this stage” to speculate on a possible rating for an independent Scotland, because of challenges of the nature and terms of independence and uncertainty over asset, liabilities, regulation of the financial sector and a possible currency change.

Dividing North See oil geographically would leave the residual UK with just 9 per cent of reserves, but direct loss of revenue would be offset by a cut in money being sent to Scotland, Fitch reports.

“This, and the fact that UK oil revenue is forecast to decline in any case, would make the budgetary impact marginal,” it adds.

A geographical split – described as “an extreme outcome” – would make the residual UK a net oil importer of about 2 per cent of GDP.

According to the agency, if the public debt stock were divided in proportion to GDP both residual UK – England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and Scotland would be left with identical public debt ratios.

“Our current expectation is that Fitch-rated gilts would remain the responsibility of the residual UK, which would enter into a separate bilateral agreement with an independent Scotland regarding how the latter would contribute to servicing and repayment,” it adds.

A referendum in Scotland is due to be held in autumn 2014.