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Credit availability in the UK 'is improving'

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The availability of credit in the UK is starting to show signs of improvement, according to head of sterling bonds at investment provider Black Rock Ian Winship.

He added that risk sentiment is also strong at the present time - and risk-free rates remain low.

Furthermore, funding costs for banks have dropped, as well as being backstopped by the Funding for Lending initiative.

The expert argued that these factors have combined to help improve credit availability - as well as the price of that credit dropping.

As a result of these trends, Mr Winship argued that the timing of the Moody decision to downgrade the UK's credit rating comes as a surprise.

He argued that the country appears to be past the very worst of the economic crisis - adding that it is very unlikely some of the adverse factors like the collapse of construction activity in 2012 would recur.

"The referenced medium-term growth outlook, which was downgraded by the market last year and by the OBR [Office for Budget Responsibility] in December's Autumn Statement, has if anything improved since then," Mr Winship remarked.

He added that financial conditions have "put the economy in the best situation for a recovery that we have seen since the crisis".

However, this does come at a time when other currencies in the west are also experiencing troubled times - and not just sterling.

Indeed, Chris Towner, director of forex advisory services at foreign currency exchange brokers HiFX, recently argued that the euro is currently facing something of a reality check.

He acknowledged that fears of the sovereign debt crisis are starting to wane, but went on to suggest that the structural issues that have plagued the European economy for a long time will continue to present issues to the single currency.

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