Philippines Reports Budget Surplus in April on Higher Revenue

The Philippines reported a budget surplus in April, reversing a deficit the previous month, after the government collected more revenue.

The surplus was 31 billion pesos ($718 million), the government said in an e-mailed statement in Manila today, compared with a previously reported 28.6 billion peso-deficit for March. Revenue rose 10.8 percent and spending increased 9.1 percent, the report said.

President Benigno Aquino plans to increase spending to a record this year while seeking $16 billion of investments in infrastructure projects to boost growth and counter the impact of Europe’s debt turmoil and China’s slowdown. The government has stepped up efforts to catch tax evaders and smugglers, and has drawn up bills aimed at increasing revenue.

“The government has the space to provide pump-priming measures as downside risks to growth for the region persist,” Radhika Rao, an economist at Forecast Pte in Singapore, said before the report. “Any front-loading of expenditure will be positive for growth and the peso.”

The peso gained 0.2 percent to 43.17 per dollar, according to Tullett Prebon Plc.

Growth in the $200 billion economy slowed to 3.7 percent last year from 7.6 percent in 2010. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have forecast expansion will accelerate to 4.2 percent in 2012, aided by government spending.

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