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Fitch Downgrades United Kingdom To ‘aa+’; Outlook Stable

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In June 2013, Barry Kenneth, who will become the new CIO and will supersvise the PPF’s investment portfolio, which is presently over 13bn. Kenneth joins the PPF from Morgan Stanley, where he is managing director and head of UK fixed income institutional and pensions coverage. PPF’s executive director of financial risk, Martin Clarke, said: “Our investment portfolio has become increasingly sophisticated and has received considerable industry recognition for its innovation and performance. We believe that Barry will bring to the PPF the expert knowledge and extensive experience needed to build on that success. “Barry will have a crucial part to play in developing PPF’s investment function, to help make sure we continue to pay compensation to our members for as long as they need it and achieve the PPF’s target of securing financial self-sufficiency by 2030.” Kenneth said: “I am looking forward to contributing to the organisation’s further success while playing an important part in providing real security to millions of pension scheme members. At present, Weir is the head of corporate insolvency at Barclays Corporate. Favier will be stepping down in July 2013. Nearly, 1.4bn in recoveries has been alloted by PPF, since it commenced in 2005. Clarke said: “This is a complex and important part of our business which is aimed at minimising the impact on levy payers of schemes entering the PPF. “Favier, who has been with us since the beginning, has played a crucial role in the success of the organisation and we wish him well for the future. We believe that Weir is the ideal replacement, bringing the right level of expertise, knowledge and experience to the role. We look forward to him joining us.” Favier said: “My time at the PPF has been busy, interesting and challenging, to say the least. It was a difficult decision to stand down from my role here but I am sure that Weir will continue the good work. The PPF is an important organisation and it has been a real privilege to play a small part in providing vital protection for PPF members.” (c) 2013 Euclid Infotech Pvt.

– Fitch previously commented that failure to stabilise debt below 100% of GDP and place it on a firm downward path towards 90% of GDP over the medium term would likely trigger a rating downgrade. Despite the UK’s strong fiscal financing flexibility underpinned by its own currency with reserve currency status and the long average maturity of public debt, the fiscal space to absorb further adverse economic and financial shocks is no longer consistent with a ‘AAA’ rating. – Higher than previously projected budget deficits and debt primarily reflects the weak growth performance of the UK economy in recent years, partly due to headwinds of private and public sector deleveraging and the eurozone crisis. Fitch has revised down its forecast economic growth in 2013 and 2014 to 0.8% and 1.8%, respectively, from 1.5% and 2.0% at the time of the last review of the UK’s sovereign ratings in September 2012. The UK economy is not expected to reach its 2007 level of real GDP until 2014, underscoring the weakness of the economic recovery. – Despite significant progress in reducing public sector net borrowing (PSNB from a peak of 11.2% of GDP (GBP159bn) in 2009-10, the budget deficit remains 7.4% of GDP (excluding the effect of the transfer of Royal Mail pensions) and is not expected to fall below 6% of GDP and GBP100bn until the end of the current parliament term. The slower pace of deficit reduction means that the next government will be required to implement substantial spending reductions (and/or tax increases) if public debt is to be stabilised and reduced over the medium term. The Stable Outlook on the UK’s sovereign ratings reflects the following factors. – Under Fitch’s baseline economic and fiscal scenario, which assumes a continued policy commitment to reducing the underlying budget deficit and medium-term annual growth potential of 2%-2.25%, government debt gradually falls as a share of national income in the latter half of the decade. – The long average maturity of public debt (15 years) – the longest of any high-grade sovereign -exclusively denominated in local currency and low interest service burden implies a higher level of debt tolerance than many high-grade peers. – The international reserve currency status of sterling and the ability and willingness of the Bank of England to intervene in the UK government debt market largely eliminates the risk of a self-fulfilling fiscal financing crisis. – The gradual improvement in the UK banking sector’s capital and liquidity position has further reduced contingent liabilities arising from this sector. The UK’s ‘AA+’ rating is underpinned by its high-income, diversified and flexible economy as well as a high degree of political and social stability. The monetary policy framework as well as sterling’s international reserve currency status afford the UK a high degree of financial and economic policy flexibility.

Eid-al-Adha Celebration in the United Kingdom

This festival also marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Today Muslims all over the world who can afford it , sacrifice a sheep (sometimes a goat) as a reminder of Ibrahims obedience to Allah. In Britain, the animal has to be killed at a slaughterhouse. They share out the meat among family, friends and the poor, who each get a third share. Eid usually starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers, dressed in their best clothes, and thanking Allah for all the blessings they have received. It is also a time when they visit family and friends as well as offering presents. At Eid it is obligatory to give a set amount of money to charity to be used to help poor people buy new clothes and food so they too can celebrate. Initiatives to improve the quality of life or opportunities in Muslim communities around the United Kingdom may be launched at Eid-al-Adha. Some mosques also hold study days or lectures on aspects of Islam and Islamic history. Eid-al-Adha is not a bank holiday in the UK. Mosques are likely to be busy and this may lead to some traffic congestion.

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