LONDON (Reuters) - A "small number" of Irish firms are likely to see their credit ratings cut if neighbouring Britain - Ireland's biggest trade partner - leaves the European Union next month without a transition deal, S&P Global said on Thursday.
S&P said it still expected the UK to leave the EU with a deal but said the risks that it doesn't were rising. It currently rates more than 50 firms in Ireland as well as the government.
"A no-deal Brexit would have negative credit implications and place increased pressure on Irish issuers," S&P said. "However, we would only envisage rating actions for a small number of issuers, where rating performance is already somewhat challenged."
It added that the agriculture sector would be hardest hit by a no-deal Brexit while banks were unlikely to see many "near-term" rating moves and downgrade of the Irish sovereign was not its "base-case" in such a scenario.
(Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Helen Reid)