London Report: Osborne likely to have missed financial target

UK PUBLIC borrowing figures this week are expected to show that the chancellor George Osborne narrowly missed his target for this year.

And while future revisions may bring the figures back within Osborne’s target, the figures are likely to bring further scepticism about whether the UK can continue to meets its fiscal targets.

“We expect there to have been an underlying Public Sector Net Borrowing Requirement (PSNBR) excluding financial interventions of £10bn in March,” said Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight.

“This would be down on the shortfall of £11.4bn billion in March 2013. While it would be clearly down year-on-year, an underlying PSNBR excluding financial interventions of £10bn billion in March would actually likely result in Chancellor George Osborne just missing the downwardly revised target of £107.8 billion for fiscal year in 2013-14 that was contained in his budget presented in mid-March.”

Other economic figures during the week include the Bank of England’s policy committee minutes, due for release on Wednesday. will release minutes from its latest policy meeting. While The Bank voted unanimously to hold interest rates and quantitative easing, the fall in unemployment to 6.9 per cent – below the previously quoted benchmark for change of 7 per cent – may prompt changes at future meetings this year.

The CBI survey of distributive trade is due on Thursday and retail sales data for March is due on Friday.

Analysts at Barclays said: “We expect March retail sales to edge down, correcting the large increase observed in February, and consistent with indications from survey data that there might have been a cooling off in March. In annual terms, we expect retail sales to grow 3.7 per cent.”

The corporate calendar starts today with news from Dragon Oil and Genel Energy.

Tomorrow Associated British Foods, ARM Holdings, Carpetright, Group, Hammerson, Reed Elsevier and Sports Direct International will update the market.

On Thursday Anglo American, African Barrick Gold, Astrazeneca, Cobham, Premier Foods, Travis Perkins and Unilever will give figures.

On Friday Spectris, William Hill and WPP will give trading figures.