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Canada's budget deficit shrank to CAD68.6 billion between April and September from CAD198 billion in the year-ago period as the economy's reopening boosted revenue and the government moved to scale back pandemic relief payouts.

Revenue climbed 37% and program spending declined 27% according to a Finance Department report Friday. The government's cash balance declined to CAD62.1 billion from CAD88.2 billion.

The monthly deficit for September narrowed to CAD11.4 billion from CAD27.6 billion a year ago.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in April projected a CAD155 billion deficit this fiscal year and booked a record CAD354 billion deficit for the fiscal year that ended in March. Earlier this week, Freeland scaled back most relief checks and said they will likely come to an end in May, suggesting further austerity in a fiscal update coming soon would do little to curb a global inflation surge.

Sources have told MNI Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a de facto majority government on deficit spending even after failing to win a majority of seats in a Sept. 20 election, while saying the government needs to focus on medium term fiscal control. Trudeau's Liberals proposed CAD78 billion of new spending over the next five fiscal years and said new taxes on banks and the wealthy will slim the deficit to CAD32.1 billion over that time.

Source: Finance Department