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Financial News: UK May Budget Deficit Lowest Since 2007

UK May Budget Deficit Lowest Since 2007

06/21/2017 - 07:45:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Britain's budget deficit reached the lowest for the month of May since 2007 on higher tax receipts, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed Wednesday.

Public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks decreased by GBP 0.3 billion from the previous year to GBP 6.7 billion. This was the lowest borrowing for May since 2007.

The improvement from the previous year was largely driven by a 4.3 percent rise in VAT receipts.

Economists had forecast the deficit to narrow to GBP 6.8 billion from April's revised shortfall of GBP 9.39 billion.

The budget deficit for the financial year ending March 2017 totaled GBP 46.6 billion, which was revised from the initial estimate of GBP 48.7 billion. This was the lowest since March 2008.

The Office for Budget Responsibility had estimated a deficit of GBP 51.7 billion in the March Budget.

May's figures suggest that the public sector finances have made a solid start to the fiscal year, although we doubt that this will continue for too much longer, Capital Economics economist Scott Bowman said.

And fiscal policy is still set to provide a significant drag on GDP growth in the coming years, he added.

Public sector net debt, excluding public sector banks, was GBP 1,737.3 billion at the end of May, equivalent to 86.5 percent of gross domestic product.

Central government net cash requirement decreased by GBP 14.3 billion to a surplus of GBP 6.9 billion in the current financial year-to-date, the ONS reported.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said on Tuesday that the Conservatives remained committed to balance the budget by the middle of the next decade.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, the Agents' summary of business conditions, published by the Bank of England, showed that moderate underlying growth in activity continued overall.

Heightened uncertainty remained a drag on business investment. Further, the report showed that the direct impact of the fall in sterling on cost inflation had eased, but increased costs continued to pass through supply chains into retail prices.

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