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Financial News: UK Meets Budget Deficit Target In FY2016-17

UK Meets Budget Deficit Target In FY2016-17

04/25/2017 - 07:41:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The British government limited its budget deficit for the financial year 2016-17 almost within its targets and the figure hit the lowest level seen since the financial crisis.

In the financial year ending March 2017, public sector net borrowing decreased by GBP 20 billion to GBP 52.0 billion, data published by the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday.

This was the lowest deficit since the financial year ending March 2008 and slightly above the Office for Budget Responsibility's estimate of GBP 51.7 billion.

The deficit was at 2.6 percent of gross domestic product in the 2016/17 financial year.

It is pleasing and welcome news for Chancellor Philip Hammond as he essentially met the markedly lowered 2016/17 fiscal target contained in March's budget, IHS Markit economist Howard Archer said.

This is helpful for the Chancellor's and government's credibility, which is all the more welcome given the looming snap general election, Archer added.

March's UK public sector finances figures confirmed the large fall in borrowing that the OBR expected in the 2016-17 fiscal year but, with much of the drop due to temporary factors, borrowing is set to rise in 2017-18, Scott Bowman, a UK economist at Capital Economics, said.

Nonetheless, looking through these temporary factors, fiscal policy is still set to provide a significant drag on GDP growth over the next few years, the economist said.

In March, PSNB excluding banks increased by GBP 0.8 billion from the previous year to GBP 5.1 billion in March. This was the highest March borrowing since 2015.

At the end of March, public sector net debt was GBP 1.72 trillion, equivalent to 86.6 percent of GDP.

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