Good news for the subjects of Elizabeth II. In the UK, public finances have improved dramatically in January, surprising economists positively. The country posted a surplus of 14.1 billion euros last month, against a surplus of 11 billion euros a year earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The first month of the year is traditionally auspicious for the UK public finances. This is a time of significant fiscal revenues seasonal.
Another reason for satisfaction, the UK public sector was a net lender in January, up from 7.8 billion pounds, against 5.2 billion in January 2011. This is the largest surplus for four years and therefore good news for the Cameron government, committed to a plan of fiscal consolidation in the country.
The government is well on track to fulfill its public deficit target of 127 billion pounds in fiscal year 2011-2012. But it will require a resumption of growth - after a contraction of GDP in late 2011 - to keep its deficit reduction targets.
Right now, the UK's net debt stood at 988.7 billion pounds, or 63% of gross domestic product (GDP), down after having topped the 1,000 billion at end 2011. But this sum does not include temporary effects of bank bailouts by the State during the financial crisis, which amounts to hundreds of billions of pounds.
Last night, the rating agency Moody's announced the placement of "AAA" from Britain on negative watch.