British state borrowing fell in September, hitting the lowest level for the month since 2008, but analysts warned that the government still appeared likely to miss its annual deficit target.
Public sector net borrowing stood at £12.8 billion ($20.5 billion) last month, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement. That compared with £13.5 billion in September 2011.
The data excludes the temporary effects of financial interventions such as bank bailouts.
Market expectations had been for public borrowing to hit a higher £13.9 billion in September, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
Britain's Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has set the government's borrowing target for the 2012/2013 financial year, which ends in March, at £120 billion. That compared with an official deficit of £121.6 billion in 2011/2012.
"If the trend in the first six months of the fiscal year continues, it still looks like borrowing for 2012/13 will overshoot the OBR's forecast... by about £7.0 billion," said economist Martin Beck at Capital Economics consultancy.
British finance minister George Osborne is due to present an update of the government's budget plans on 5 December.