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Lithuania 2012 Budget Gap Falls to 3% of GDP as Debt Ratio Rises

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Lithuania’s budget deficit narrowed to 3 percent of gross domestic product last year, meeting European Union limits for the first time since 2007 even as government debt advanced.

The shortfall shrank from 4.8 percent last year on revenue of 32.4 billion litai ($12.7 billion) and spending of 34.1 billion litai, the Finance Ministry, based in the capital, Vilnius, said today on its website. Taxes and social-security payments generated 47 percent and 38 percent of revenue, while social-benefits expenditures such as pensions and unemployment accounted for 51 percent of spending, it said.

Government debt rose to 43.2 billion litai, equivalent to 38.4 percent of GDP, 2 percentage points more than in 2011, the ministry said in a separate statement.

Lithuania’s economy grew 3.6 percent in 2012, faster than the Finance Ministry’s forecast of 3.5 percent, the statistics office said today. The four-party coalition formed after elections in October adopted a budget for 2013 that foresees reducing the deficit to 2.5 percent of GDP. The government plans to seek euro adoption in 2015.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bryan Bradley in Vilnius at bbradley13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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