LONDON, March 22 (Xinhua) -- International credit rating agency Fitch on Friday placed the Britain's "AAA" sovereign credit rating on Rating Watch Negative (RWN), indicating a heightened probability of a downgrade in the near term.
"The RWN reflects the latest economic and fiscal forecasts published by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) that indicate that UK government debt will peak later and at a higher level than previously expected by Fitch," the agency said in a statement.
According to the latest economic and fiscal outlook report released by OBR earlier this week, British general government gross debt (GGGD) and public sector net debt are forecast to peak in 2016-17 at 100.8 percent and 85.6 percent of GDP and only begin to decline in 2017-18.
Fitch has previously stated that GGGD failing to stabilize below 100 percent of GDP and on a firm downward path towards 90 percent over the medium term would likely result in a downgrade of Britain's sovereign ratings.
When delivering a speech on 2013 budget in the House of Commons Wednesday, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne slashed the country's economic growth forecast from 1.2 percent to 0.6 percent.
Fitch expects to complete its review of the debt-ridden country's sovereign ratings by the end of April.
Moody's Investor Service kicked Britain out of the triple-A sovereign credit rating club last month.