UK - The UK’s private sector final salary pension schemes saw a slight improvement in January as deficits reduced a fraction, according to calculations made by the Pension Protection Fund.

Updating its PPF 7800 Index, a monthly update on the state of defined benefit pension scheme funding, the PPF estimates the aggregate funding position of almost 7,800 defined benefit funds has improved over the month to a deficit of £190.6bn (€219bn) at end-January 2009, from £194.5 the month before.

“The total deficit of schemes in deficit in January 2009 is estimated to have improved to £204.1bn from £209.6bn at the end of December 2008,” said the fund.

In January 2008, the aggregate deficit of all schemes in deficit still stood at £98.1bn.

Last month, the total surpluses of schemes in surplus fell to £13.5bn from £15.1bn at the end of December 2008. This is compared to January 2008, when the total surplus of all schemes in surplus stood at £49.3bn.

The PPF explained that during the month of January 2009 there was a 3.7% decrease in assets due to falling UK and global equities.

Meanwhile, higher gilt yields in general led to a decrease in liabilities of approximately 5.5%, while the FTSE All Share Index decreased by 5.9% over January 2009.