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Iceland Parliament Approves 2013 Budget in Bid to Close Deficit

Iceland’s parliament, Althingi, today passed the island’s 2013 budget with a deficit of 0.1 percent of gross domestic product, according to the bill posted on the parliament’s website.

The budget anticipates that revenue will rise by 37 billion kronur ($294 million) to 570 billion kronur, almost matching expenditures of 573 billion kronur.

Iceland, whose banks defaulted on $85 billion in 2008, completed a 33-month International Monetary Fund program just over a year ago. Since the banking collapse, the government has sought to shift Iceland’s economic focus to traditional industries such as fishing and tourism and away from finance.

The government said in September it expects a surplus of 17.8 billion kronur, or 0.9 percent of GDP, in 2014. That compares with an estimated 25.8 billion-krona deficit this year.

The budget was approved by 28 members of the government-coalition minority. Twenty-six lawmakers -- including one from the minority coalition -- abstained from voting. Nine members of parliament were absent during the vote.

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