British Consumers Grappling With Heavier Debt Loads: Moody's

British households are increasingly grappling with debt at a time the U.K. economy is showing signs of slowing, Moody's Investors Service warned Monday. "Household debt is high and still growing, leaving consumers vulnerable to an economic downturn, while higher inflation, weaker wage growth and levels of indebtedness leaves those in lower-income brackets the most exposed," wrote Greg Davies, a research analyst at Moody's. Delinquencies and charge-offs for credit card asset-backed securities, in particular, should increase if unemployment rises, Moody's said in a note outlining its downgraded outlook for four out of five U.K. consumer-structured finance sectors. However, "we have maintained the stable outlook on U.K. prime [residential mortgage-backed securities] because this mortgage market is robust, with borrowers that have strong repayment capacity and have benefited the most from the recent decline in the interest rates", said Davies. Moody's warning came separately from June credit data from the Bank of England showing total borrowing surpassed �200 billion ($236 billion).

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