Thursday, March 21, 2013
Maybe deficit reduction wasn't such a tall story
Posted by David Smith at 10:55 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

There are so many adjustments in the public borrowing figures these days that getting to the underlying picture is not easy. But on an underlying basis, the February borrowing numbers - inconveniently published on the day after the budget - look like good news.

Specifically, net borrowing in February was 2.8 billion, a huge 9 billion down on a year earlier. Some of this was due to special factors but stripping them out, borrowing was still 4 billion lower. Cumulative borrowing excluding the Royal Mail pension transfer and the shifting of asset purchase facility money from the Bank of England to the Treasury was 101.3 billion, compared with 104.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2011-12. Maybe talk of a borrowing undershoot is not so far-fetched. More here.

Also today, retail sales jumped by 2.1% in February, which was far stronger than expected, though volumes over the latest three months were still down by 0.2% on the previous three. More here.