Ireland’s Budget Deficit Excluding Banks Narrows 40%

Ireland’s budget deficit narrowed 40 percent in the eleven months through November from a year-earlier, when one-time payments to the country’s pension fund and nationalized lender Anglo Irish Bank Corp. widened the shortfall.

The deficit of 13.3 billion euros ($17.6 billion) compared with 22.1 billion euros a year earlier, the Finance Ministry in Dublin said today. This year’s figures don’t include further injections of cash into Irish banks announced in September.

Ireland’s government is seeking a 67.5 billion-euro aid package from the International Monetary Fund and European Union, as investors shun Irish debt on concerns that the costs of the banking bailout will push the nation into bankruptcy. The rescue includes 35 billion euros for the country’s financial system.

Last year, the deficit included a 3 billion-euro payment to the National Pensions Reserve Fund and a 4 billion-euro payment to nationalized Anglo Irish.

Still, there are some signs that the economy is stabilizing. Tax revenues were 1.6 percent above its forecast at 29.5 billion euros, as company taxes beat the Finance Ministry’s expectations. Irish jobless claims fell for a third month in November in the labor market’s best streak since the first quarter of 2007, data showed yesterday.