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Canada Budget Deficit Widens in July as Revenue Falls

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Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Canada’s budget deficit widened in July as the federal government’s revenue declined and borrowing costs rose.

The deficit for the month grew to C$1.98 billion ($1.93 billion) from C$1.35 billion a year earlier, the finance department said in a statement. Revenue fell 2.6 percent and public debt charges increased 3.8 percent to C$2.48 billion.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s annual budget, released in March, projected a deficit for the current fiscal year that began April 1 of C$18.7 billion, down from C$25.9 billion the previous year, in large part by reducing direct program expenses.

The government anticipates direct program expenses, which don’t include transfers to provinces or individuals, to fall to C$119.2 billion this year from C$122.1 billion. Spending on that component in the first four months of the current year rose 5.5 percent to C$34.2 billion.

The budget gap for the first four months of the fiscal year widened to C$4.54 billion from C$4.16 billion. The finance department said the government is still on track to meet its 2013 budget targets.

Total program expenses including transfers are up 3.4 percent in the four-month period, while revenue has increased 2.6 percent. Spending rose 0.1 percent in July.

To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net

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