Brexit has a cost, but so far it appears to be more modest than many analysts had feared.
The U.K.’s creditworthiness tumbles 3.1 points, to 85.8 on a scale of 0 to 100, in Institutional Investor’s semiannual Country Credit survey. The fall, a significant one for a major advanced economy, comes in the wake of the June referendum in which British voters stunned the political establishment and opted to take the country out of the European Union. The decline drops the U.K. two places, to 15th, in the survey.
Yet many analysts say it’s far too early to determine what the long-term impact of Brexit will be. The new prime minister, Theresa May, has only just begun consulting with political leaders inside the U.K. about what kind of future relationship the country should pursue with the EU, and she’s a long way from invoking Article 50 of the EU treaties, which will start a two-year exit process. “It all depends on the negotiations,” says François Faure, head of country risk at BNP Paribas in Paris.
Although some political commentators have warned that Brexit could ultimately lead to a breakup of the EU, sovereign risk analysts don’t seem to regard that as much of a threat for now. The average rating for Western European countries slips just 0.1 point in the latest survey and is up 0.7 point from a year earlier.
Overall the survey paints a stable picture. The average global creditworthiness rating stands at 44.2, down 0.5 point from March but up 0.1 point from a year ago. That continues the pattern of the past four years, which has seen the global average hover in a very narrow range even as certain countries — such as Argentina on the upside or Brazil and Venezuela on the downside — make significant moves.