FTSE 100 loses ground as UK public debt rises to 63-year high

The Office for National Statistics found public sector net debt as a proportion to the economy rose to 99.8% for May.

Alex Daniel
Friday 21 June 2024 16:58 BST
The FTSE 100 slipped on Friday (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
The FTSE 100 slipped on Friday (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Archive)

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The FTSE 100 slipped on Friday after official figures showed UK state debt rose to levels not witnessed for more than 60 years in May.

The blue-chip index fell 35 points to 8,238 on Friday, a 0.4% fall.

Earlier, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that public sector net debt as a proportion of UK GDP (gross domestic product) rose to 99.8% for the month.

Separate data showed the UK’s private sector grew at its slowest rate for seven months in June, as goods and services inflation remained stubbornly high and firms put spending decisions on hold until after the General Election.

It comes after the Bank of England voted to keep rates held at 5.25% until at least August on Thursday, in a move which was criticised by some segments of the corporate world as stifling growth.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “The last time net debt represented the same proportion of GDP revealed today was when the Beatles had yet to enjoy a number one single, TV was in black and white and the country was still paying off debts accumulated during the Second World War.

“It shows the difficult task facing whoever occupies Number 10 after next month’s election.”

Meanwhile, France’s CAC 40 finished 0.4% down, while Germany’s Dax also fell 0.4%.

Stateside, the S&P 500 was down 0.1% as markets were closing in London, while the Dow Jones was also down 0.1%.

In company news, corporate events organiser Informa has reported rising sales in recent months after signing a deal with Microsoft to deepen its use of artificial intelligence (AI).

The FTSE 100-listed company said strong demand for live events around the world had helped generate revenues of about £1.4 billion over the first five months of the year.

Shares finished the day 0.02% up.

Meanwhile, soft drink maker Britvic rejected a £3.1 billion takeover move by Danish brewing giant Carlsberg.

The Hertfordshire-based company said it received a proposal from Carlsberg for the whole business on June 11.

It said the potential bid valued the company at 1,250p per share, or £3.1 billion.

Shares jumped 7.8%.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil was down 0.03% to 81.27 US dollars as markets were closing in London.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Phoenix Group, up 21.6p to 517p, United Utilities, up 19.1p to 1012.5p, Compass Group, up 27p to 2265p, Burberry, up 10p to 982.2p, and Haleon, up 3.2p to 332.4p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Antofagasta, down 94p to 2052p, ConvaTec, down 6.2p to 237.2p, Smurfit Kappa, down 92p to 3646p, Land Securities, down 14p to 622.5p, and DCC, down 115p to 5580p.

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