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Philippines Reports Budget Deficit in November as Spending Rises

The Philippines reported a budget deficit for the third straight month in November as government spending increased.

The deficit was 11.6 billion pesos ($282 million) compared with a shortfall of 9.67 billion pesos reported for October, the government said in an e-mailed statement today. Revenue rose 21 percent and spending increased 11 percent from a year earlier. The 11-month budget gap was 127.3 billion pesos, less than half the 279 billion-peso ceiling targeted by the government.

“The risk of fiscal slippage or of the deficit exceeding the program is nearly eliminated this year,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said in a statement.

The Philippines is on the verge of its first investment-grade credit rating as President Benigno Aquino bolsters tax collection and oversees a resurgence in growth. Standard & Poor’s last week raised the country’s rating outlook to positive and said it may upgrade the Philippines next year on improved governance and public finances.

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