Canada Budget Deficit Narrows in August on Lower Spending
Canada’s budget deficit narrowed in August as the federal government’s spending declined.
The deficit for the month fell to C$2.31 billion ($2.21 billion) from C$3.04 billion a year earlier, the finance department said in a statement today from Ottawa. Program expenses dropped 3.8 percent while revenue rose 0.6 percent. Public debt charges increased 6.4 percent to C$2.38 billion.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said this week the government’s deficit fell as it cut operating expenses. The shortfall was C$18.9 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31, down 28 percent from the prior year and C$7.0 billion less than projected six months ago.
The budget gap for the first five months of the year started April 1 fell to C$6.84 billion from C$7.20 billion a year earlier. In his March budget, Flaherty projected a deficit of C$18.7 billion for this year. The finance department said the government is still on track to eliminate the deficit in 2015.
The government anticipates direct program spending, which doesn’t include transfers to provinces or individuals, to fall to C$119.2 billion this year from C$122.1 billion. Spending on that component in the first five months of the current year rose 1.5 percent to C$42.7 billion.
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