UK borrowing hits 17-year low; retail sales keep rising – business live

Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, as the Bank of England sets UK interest rates

  • Latest: UK borrowing lowest since 2001-02
  • Retail sales up 0.4% in February, stronger than expected
  • Expert: Stockpiling is a factor
  • Pound dips as Brexit crisis rages
  • Introduction: BoE decision at noon

10.55am GMT

The pound has just hit a one-week low against the US dollar, as political worries overshadow this morning’s decent economic data.

Sterling has dropped to $1.313, its lowest level since MPs voted to seek an extension to Brexit last week.

“In a thinly veiled ultimatum to MPs, Theresa May has put the emphasis back on Parliament to support her deal by confirming that she won’t extend Brexit beyond June 30th. While the chances of it passing may be marginally improved, the odds are still stacked against her.

“Should Parliament reject the deal again then the path ahead remains unclear, with Donald Tusk keeping tight-lipped on what the options would be in such a scenario. Our sense is that Parliament will intervene to prevent a no deal exit, but as the clock ticks down, the risk of an accident will only increase.

Related: Brexit: May’s appeal to nation backfires as MPs accuse her of stoking hate – Politics live

10.32am GMT

John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, warns that a hard Brexit could undermine the progress in cutting Britain’s deficit.

All bets would be off in the case of a disorderly ‘no deal’ Brexit, which could push UK growth into negative territory, dampening tax revenue growth and widening the budget deficit significantly over the next few years.”

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Sahred From Source link World News

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