Business Information Service: This Week

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The Independent Online

October's UK Industrial Production - predicted to show a 0.3 per cent rise - will kick off the final round of economic indicators available to the Chancellor as he completes preparations for his first Budget on 30 November. They should confirm slow domestic recovery. Interim profits from BA are expected to soar 30 per cent, against a backdrop of big losses among other European airlines. British Steel should break even, stemming recent losses.


Last month's ex-privatisation PSBR is anticipated to reach pounds 2bn, suggesting the annual borrowing requirement may undershoot the government's pounds 50bn estimate by pounds 2bn. The Chancellor will be speaking at the CBI conference. BAA is likely to turn in interim profits up 9 per cent, while BOC Group will show a five per cent lift for the year.


October's headline retail prices are expected to show a third successive monthly increase of 0.4 per cent, with rising seasonal food prices despite the war on the supermarket front. Retail sales are predicted to rise by the same amount, bringing the annual rate of increase to 3.5 per cent. Hardening insurance premium rates should help Commercial Union return third-quarter profits of pounds 148m.


Earnings and unemployment data will show little change for October. Cash in circulation should edge up slightly, suggesting that retail sales are reasonably buoyant. A small growth in lending is also expected. Cable & Wireless is predicted to deliver interim profits up more than 30 per cent.


A decline in the rate of import growth should reduce the non-EC deficit to pounds 900m in October, after a sharp deterioration to pounds 1.1bn in September.