Thursday, April 22, 2010
A modest borrowing undershoot
Posted by David Smith at 10:15 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

The public finance numbers could be designed to create maximum confusion but the bottom line is that, on the Treasury's definition, public sector net borrowing came in a little below the budget forecast at 163.4 billion, compared with the 166.5 billion officially expected. Fairly small beer, though at least in the right direction, and 15 billion lower than the Treasury was expecting in the pre-budget report in December.

The Treasury might have preferred to focus on the measure including financial interventions, which came in at 152.8 billion. They are all, however, still very big numbers. The preferred measure confirmed borrowing at 11.6% of gross domestic product. More here.

Retail sales, including petrol, showed a 0.4% volume increase in March, for a 2.2% rise on a year earlier. Excluding petrol, the monthly increase was 0.2%. The numbers have yet to get over the January snow-affected slump, however. Including petrol, sales volume was down 1.7% in the latest three months. Even excluding petrol, there was a 0.6% fall. The numbers are here.