Spanish newspaper El Pais is quoting a Moody’s credit agency assertion that a shortlist exists of major countries about to have their credit ratings downgraded. These are France, Germany, the UK and the United States.

It quotes an internal Moody’s report as saying that the “route to downgrading these states has got considerably shorter”. As yet, I’ve been unable to find the report quoted elsewhere. But a credit source contacted in the eurozone this lunchtime told The Slog that “the list makes eminent sense…France because of poor debt control, Germany because of sovereign debt problems at its banks, Britain largely because of flat output, and the US because it has so obviously run out of options”.

The UK may find itself off the list, however, following an unexpected increase in tax income of late. Our borrowing was reduced following a 38 per cent surge in corporation tax receipts compared with a year ago. This could mean an increase in profitable output, or perhaps lower tax avoidance occasioned by cash hoarding.