Credit rating giant S&P says UK banks are now better placed to deal with Brexit

 
Julian Harris
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Banks are keeping a close eye on Brexit negotiations (Source: Getty)

The outlook for British banks has brightened according to a leading credit rating agency, with lenders now in a better position to cope with the run-up to Brexit.

Standard and Poor’s said last night it has revised the negative outlook on several large UK banks “mostly to stable, and in some specific cases to positive,” following new analysis on the sector.

The report said: “We see the industry as now better positioned to deal with uncertainties – and potential turbulence – in the run-up to the UK’s exit from the EU in March 2019.”

It said banks “are showing increased resilience”, reflected in stronger underlying profits, the successful disposal of non-core assets, and larger capital buffers.

Read more: ECB tells banks – Your Brexit plans are not up to scratch

Banks such as RBS and Lloyds had their outlook revised from negative to positive. Barclays and HSBC were revised from negative to stable. All of the analysed banks’ credit ratings remained unchanged.

S&P said Brexit talks “remain difficult and protracted... with the attendant downside risks in the case of a disorderly outcome.”

However, it added: “An orderly Brexit with a transitional arrangement is still our base case.”

Meanwhile yesterday, a key ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said he was “more optimistic” about Brexit following a meeting at Downing Street with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Manfred Weber, a leading politician in Brussels, said: “After my meetings here in London my main message is I am more optimistic, there is progress ... That is the most important thing because the perspective from a European point of view towards London was in the last weeks not so clear.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said Weber and May had discussed the need for a transition period, partly to ensure “the stability of the financial sector across Europe.”

Read more: David Davis says Brexit will give the UK a "bigger pool to fish in" for migrant workers

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