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MNI BRIEF: Canada Apr-Dec Deficit CAD5.5B, Beats Projection
Canada's federal budget deficit hit CAD5.5 billion from April to December, remaining ahead of the government's projection for a CAD36 billion shortfall this fiscal year. The deficit was smaller than the CAD70 billion recorded in the previous period, the finance department's monthly Fiscal Monitor report on Friday showed. The economy's re-opening after Covid restrictions lifted revenue 11% while program spending fell 12%. Public debt charges jumped 38% or by CAD7.2 billion.
For the month of December, the balance swung to a CAD2 billion deficit from a CAD3.6 billion surplus a year earlier. Public debt charges climbed 50% or by CAD1.1 billion and revenue fell 9.8% or by CAD3.8 billion.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Nov. 3 pared the projected deficit for this fiscal year to CAD36 billion from an earlier estimate of CAD53 billion as the economy picked up. Freeland says she will avoid making the Bank of Canada's inflation fight more difficult while facing pressure to spend on healthcare and the environment. Some experts say likely continued fiscal stimulus reduces the odds the Bank can cut rates this year. (See: MNI INTERVIEW: Deficit Means Little Scope For BOC Cut- Asselin)
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