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: U.K. public sector borrowing spikes as PMI data shows economy faltering

U.K. public borrowing in December was the highest for the last month of the year in at least 29 years, as separate data showed the British economy deteriorating.

Public sector borrowing reached £27.4 billion ($33.7 billion), the highest for December since monthly data started in 1993 and £16.7 billion above the year-ago level, according to the Office for National Statistics. The statistics agency blamed the cost of energy support measures for both households and businesses, as well as an increase in debt interest.

That was well ahead of consensus expectations for £17.3 billion of borrowing.

The ONS said public sector debt was 99.5% of gross domestic product, a ratio last seen in the early 1960s.

Separately, the U.K. flash purchasing managers composite index fell to a two-year low of 47.8 in January, from 49 in December and expectations of a slight rise to 49.1. The S&P Global/CIPS data was weighed down by the services sector, and purchasing managers noted higher interest rates and low consumer confidence weighing on activity.

Any reading below 50 indicates deteriorating activity.

The British pound

was at $1.2311, vs. $1.2379 on Monday, and the yield on the 2-year gilt

fell 5 basis points to 3.39%

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