Business Information Service: This Week

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With all quiet on the corporate front for the next few weeks, attention is likely to focus on various economic data. Producer price data for December should give little cause for concern, with the cost of raw materials depressed along with the oil price. Prices at the factory gate are also expected to stay flat, with inflation holding at about 3.6 per cent year on year. Cold weather, boosting the energy sector output, may help to see a 0.5 per cent rise in November's industrial output.


The CBI's December distributive trades survey will be released.


The PSBR will increase to pounds 5.4bn in December, bringing the cumulative total for 1993-94 to pounds 33.6bn. The figures should confirm that the Government is on target in its projected pounds 50bn deficit for the entire financial year.

The first effects of the Budget rises in indirect taxation will show in December's retail prices, pushing the retail price index higher. However, low petrol prices are expected to keep the rise to 0.3 per cent month on month. Pre-Christmas trading should also perk up December's retail sales figures, although forecasts suggest the increase will be a modest 0.4 per cent.


Gestetner, the photocopier business, is expected to turn in pre-tax losses of pounds 33.5m for the year ended October 1993, after exceptional charges of at least pounds 48m. Budgens, the food chain, is likely to unveil a small drop in its interim profits, reflecting the cost of refurbishments and closures.


Provisional figures, already released, suggest the narrow money supply rose sharply, by one per cent, in December. The broad money supply is expected to increase by 0.3 per cent for the same period, with lending growth, at about pounds 2bn, returning to normal after a sluggish November.

Sources: MMS International, NatWest Securities, Nomura