LONDON (AFP) - Standard & Poor's lifted on Friday its outlook on Britain's credit rating to stable from negative, citing the broad recovery and progress in consolidating public finances, and confirmed its top 'AAA' assessment.
"Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its outlook on the United Kingdom to stable from negative," it said in a statement.
The agency also affirmed its 'AAA/A-1+' long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings for Britain.
"The outlook revision reflects our view of the robust and broadening recovery in the UK economy, and the further progress that the government is making on consolidating public finances," it said in a statement.
S&P forecast that the British economy would expand by almost 3 per cent in 2014, and by 2.5 per cent in 2015, propelled by business investment and private consumption.
"We see improving credit and capital market conditions as supportive of growth, along with an expected gradual resumption of positive real wage gains," it noted.
"We anticipate that the UK's economic recovery will continue to broaden, benefiting the public finances." S&P added: "We expect the domestic economy to continue to expand, and rebalance away form a pre-crisis reliance on private consumption, as productivity performance underpins real wage gains and tradables sectors, both in services and manufacturing, continue to recover."
Earlier on Friday meanwhile, rival agency Fitch had affirmed its AA+ credit rating for Britain and gave it a "stable" outlook, citing also the country's accelerating economic recovery.
Fitch noted that "favourable macroeconomic trends, including strong GDP growth, falling unemployment and inflation close to the (Bank of England's) 2 per cent target, have continued in the UK economy" since the agency's last review in December.
"Fitch expects the recovery in major advanced economies, including the eurozone, the UK's largest trading partner, to strengthen gradually in 2014-15, while emerging markets growth will be broadly stable, avoiding the risk of sharp slowdown," it said in a separate statement.