U.K. defined benefit funds covered by the Pension Protection Fund's 7800 index fell back into deficit in December, at £31.9 billion ($40.5 billion), from a £14.3 billion surplus.
For the year, however, deficits improved 69.3%, although the London-based PPF had updated its calculations in November to reflect a new data set and actuarial assumptions.
The funding level worsened to 98% as of Dec. 31, vs. 100.9% as of Nov. 30. As of Dec. 31, 2017, the funding level was 93.9%.
Assets fell over the month and the year, by 0.6% and 1.1% respectively, to £1.571 trillion. For the month, liabilities increased 2.4% but fell 5.3% for the year, to £1.6 trillion.
The PPF said in an update that the FTSE All-Share index fell 3.7% for the month and dropped 9.5% for the year. Five- to 15-year index-linked gilt yields fell 4 basis points in December, and fell 13 basis points over the year.
As of Dec. 31, 60% of the 5,450 pension funds covered by the index were in deficit, up from 55.2% as of Nov. 30. As of Dec. 31, 2017, 66.4% of the 5,588 pension funds covered by the index were in deficit.