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DEFINED BENEFIT

U.K. corporate pension deficits improve in March

A fall in liabilities and a rise in assets improved the aggregate U.K. defined benefit fund deficit by 6.4% in March, lowering it to £226.5 billion ($282.1 billion), showed the Pension Protection Fund's 7800 index.

The index, which covers PPF-eligible corporate U.K. pension funds, showed deficits increased 2.2% for the year ended March 31.

The funding ratios of these pension funds was 87% as of March 31, up from 86.2% a month earlier and 85.8% as of March 31, 2016.

Assets grew 0.5% for the month to total £1.519 trillion, and were up 13.2% for the 12-month period. The FTSE All-Share index rose 0.9% over the month and 17.5% over the year, said the PPF in an update.

Liabilities fell 0.4% in March, but grew 11.7% over the past year, to total £1.745 trillion. Over the month of March, conventional 15-year gilt yields fell by one basis point, and index-linked five- to 15-year gilt yields rose by nine basis points. For the year, 15-year gilt yields fell 40 basis points and index-linked 15-year gilt yields dropped 72 basis points.

The proportion of funds in deficit fell to 74.4% in March from 75.6% at the end of February. As of March 31, 2016, 77.6% of U.K. pension funds covered by the U.K. lifeboat fund's index were in deficit.