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On the face of it, the trend in public borrowing deteriorated sharply late last year. In the three months to December, borrowing on the main "PSNB ex ." measure, which excludes banks owned by the public sector, was a trivial £0.3B, or 1.6%, lower than in the same months of 2017.
The run of better-than-expected public borrowing figures ended abruptly with the publication of March data yesterday.
We were surprised to see Japan's services PMI edging up to 51.9 in June, from 51.7 in May. We attributed apparent service sector resilience in April and May to the abnormally long holiday this year.
China's official, unadjusted trade data for October grabbed the headlines, as they look great at first glance.
The main measure of public borrowing--PSNB excluding public sector banks--came in at £2.6B in December, well below the £5.1B in December 2016 and lower than in any other December since 2000.
Yesterday's detailed German GDP report raised more questions than it answered. The headline confirmed that growth accelerated to 0.4% quarteron- quarter in Q4, from 0.1% in Q3, leaving the year-over- year rate unchanged at 1.7%.
The National People's Congress yesterday announced a sweeping restructuring of Party/State architecture.
The Chancellor can go on his Christmas vacation content that the public finances have weathered the economy's slowdown relatively well this year.
On the face of it, the latest public finance data suggest that the economy has lost momentum.
October's surprise jump in public borrowing is not a material setback for the Chancellor, who will stick to his new Budget plans for modest fiscal stimulus next year.
Sunday's referendum on independence in Catalonia is a wild-card. The central government has taken drastic steps to ensure that a vote doesn't happen.
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