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MNI (London)
Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 06:45 GMT Jun 19/02:45 EST Jun 19
--UK May Public Sector Finances Data Due for Release Thurs
     LONDON (MNI) - The UK's May Public Sector Finances data will be released
Thursday, the second month of borrowing data for the 2018/19 fiscal year, with
analysts looking for a continued borrowing undershoot. The MNI median
expectation looks for borrowing excluding public sector banks of stg6.0bn in
May, almost one billion lower than the outcome in May 2017.
                May PSNB-Ex
                     Stg bn
---------------------------
MNI Median              6.0
Prior (May 17)    7.8 (6.9)
     
Ahead of the release, we outline five themes for particular attention:
- Best FY borrowing start in a decade. 
April public sector borrowing of stg7.8bn was 12% lower than seen last April and
the best start to a financial year since 2008/09. It comes off the back of a
strong 2017/18, in which borrowing was revised down from stg42.6bn to stg40.5bn,
beating OBR predictions.
- Favourable trend set to extend. 
Since the start of the 2017/18 fiscal year, monthly borrowing figures have
undershot their respective month-ago figure on all but three occasions (see
below), with the average y/y improvement at stg1.2bn. This May, analysts'
expectations are consistent with a further undershot of stg900bn. Net, these
'improvements' add up to some stg7.7bn, suggesting the treasury may have more at
their disposal to help currently stretched public services.
- VAT Boost. 
Retail sales data for both April (+1.8% m/m) and March (1.3% m/m) were both
strong, boosted by better weather, the Royal Wedding and major sporting events.
Sales of alcohol, clothing, footwear and weather-related goods (sporting
equipment and gardening gear) all soared and this may have translated into
bigger VAT receipts.
- Income Tax Receipt Boost. 
With the UK labour market continuing to tighten, with more finding work, this
theoretically should help nudge up income tax receipts. Off the back of the
near-200,000 employment gain notched in the three months to March growth in
income tax receipts hit 12% in April, the highest in fourteen months. An
additional 146,000 found work in the three months to April, suggesting this form
could run a little further yet.
- Beware of Revisions. 
The numbers at the start of the fiscal year are notoriously 'flaky', prone to
revision. So, between Thursday's data and over the next couple of months don't
be surprised if the figures are revised - including those of last year's
cumulative fiscal balance. Encouragingly, revisions in recent months have tended
to be in the more favourable direction.
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com