By Daniel Hunter

Data released today (Thursday) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the UK's public finances recorded a surplus of £11.4 billion in January.

This figure was £5 billion higher than in the same month last year, with January often recording a surplus thanks to an influx of money from tax self-assessment and corporation tax.

Public sector net borrowing, excluding financial interventions, for the financial year to date is now £93.8 billion. This is £1.5 billion higher than at the same point a year earlier.

UK public sector net borrowing, excluding financial interventions, was £15.4 billion in December, up from £14.8 billion borrowed in December 2011.

Jason Conibear, trading director at the forex specialists Cambridge Mercantile, commented: "The Chancellor may have won a battle, but he is still losing the war.

"Net borrowing has been reduced, but total debt continues to march upwards.

"At 73.8% of GDP, it is fast approaching dangerously high levels.

"Poundwatchers were hoping for some robust data to stem Wednesday's flight from Sterling. They didn't get it.

"The awkward truth is that while the government is borrowing less than at this time last year, the total debt is still racking up.

"The data are flattered by one-off factors, like the controversial £3.8 billion transfer from QE. They are neither a validation of the Chancellor's austerity measures, nor a prophylactic for the UK's under-threat AAA rating.

"Following yesterday's strong hint from the Bank of England's grandees that further QE could be imminent, confidence in the Pound has been badly knocked. And these figures, though positive at first glance, are unlikely to restore it."

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