UK Economics Correspondent, London
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Oct 21, 2014

Rising UK borrowing leaves no room for pre-election sweeteners

LONDON (Reuters) – British government borrowing rose more than 10 percent in the first half of the financial year, giving Chancellorp George Osborne little scope to offer sweeteners to voters before a parliamentary election in May.

Osborne said in March he would aim to reduce the budget deficit by more than 10 percent over the following 12 months, helped by Britain’s fast-recovering economy. But Tuesday’s official data make that target look out of reach.

Oct 20, 2014

Bank of England payments system suffers lengthy outage

LONDON (Reuters) – A Bank of England payments system that handles more than 260 billion pounds ($420 billion) a day suffered a major outage on Monday, forcing the central bank to extend its operating hours until late into the evening.

The Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) which underpins a system for high-value interbank payments and securities settlement did not work normally until around 11 A.M. EDT on Monday.

Oct 17, 2014

Bank of England may keep rates lower for longer, says chief economist

LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – The Bank of England may need to
keep interest rates lower for longer than previously thought to
reduce the chance of Britain’s economy slipping into long-term
stagnation, its chief economist Andrew Haldane said on Friday.

Haldane said he was now more downbeat about the outlook for
the economy, due to weaker global growth, greater financial and
political risks and the danger that wages and productivity might
continue to fail to recover as forecast.

Oct 17, 2014

Bank of England chief economist says rates could stay lower for longer

LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – The Bank of England may need to
keep interest rates lower for longer than previously thought to
reduce the chance of the economy slipping into long-term
stagnation, its chief economist Andrew Haldane said on Friday.

Haldane said he was now more downbeat about the outlook for
Britain’s economy, due to weaker global growth, greater
financial and political risks and the danger that wages and
productivity might continue to fail to recover as forecast.

Oct 16, 2014

UK gilts suffer biggest fall in over a year as markets rethink BoE bets

LONDON (Reuters) – British government bond prices suffered their biggest fall in over a year on Thursday, erasing almost all of Wednesday’s strong gains, as traders rethought their view that the Bank of England would not raise interest rates next year.

On another dramatic day in financial markets on both sides of the Atlantic, 10-year British gilt yields GB10YT=RR rose more than 13 basis points on the day to 2.09 percent — their largest one-day rise in over a year.

Oct 15, 2014

Bank error in UK’s favour may cut new borrowing by 10 billion pounds

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain may need to raise almost 10 billion pounds less from financial markets this year than previously thought, after its statisticians and the finance ministry discovered a raft of errors in a key measure of borrowing needs.

The Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday that errors in the finance ministry’s reporting systems – largely linked to transfers from the Bank of England – meant the amount of money that Britain needed to borrow since December 2012 had been overstated by 9.684 billion pounds ($15 billion).

Oct 14, 2014

Britain plans to allow over-55s greater access to pension savings

LONDON, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Britons coming up to retirement
will find it easier to spend their pension savings early,
according to government plans announced on Tuesday that extend a
big overhaul of pensions set out earlier this year.

Finance minister George Osborne said in March that Britons
with private pension savings would no longer be required to
convert them on retirement into an annuity that provides a fixed
income for life.

Oct 10, 2014

Bank of England had cash ready in case Scotland chose independence

LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) – The Bank of England planned to
shore up Britain’s financial system quickly if Scotland voted
for independence last month, with extra banknotes ready in case
of big withdrawals from Scottish banks.

Scots voted on Sept. 18 to keep their centuries-old union
with the rest of the United Kingdom. Opinion polls running up to
the referendum had suggested a tight outcome, and on Friday the
BoE disclosed what might have happened if Scots had voted ‘yes’.

Oct 8, 2014

British Chambers of Commerce warns of ‘alarm bell’ for UK recovery

LONDON (Reuters) – The British Chambers of Commerce warned of a “first alarm bell” for Britain’s rapid economic recovery after firms reported the weakest export growth in almost two years and a big slowdown in manufacturing.

The BCC’s quarterly economic survey – the largest of its kind in Britain – showed that while domestic demand for services continued to grow at a near-record pace, the picture for other parts of the economy deteriorated sharply.

Oct 2, 2014

Bank of England backs flagship government mortgage guarantee scheme

LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuters) – The Bank of England gave a clean
bill of health to Britain’s flagship mortgage guarantee scheme
on Thursday, sparing the government from potential embarrassment
in the run-up to a national election.

But it asked for new powers to curb risky mortgage borrowing
- including funding for buy-to-let investments for the first
time – and said it would speed up plans to limit how much banks
can lend relative to their capital.

    • About David

      "David keeps a close watch on the UK economy, the Bank of England and the British government debt market. Previously he worked in Frankfurt, covering the European Central Bank and euro zone economy, and in Brussels where he reported on everything from EU summits to Belgian supermarkets."
      Languages:
      English, French, German
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