MNI: Canada July Budget Deficit Widens On Debt Charges
Canada's budget deficit widened in July led by higher debt charges, the finance department reported Friday.
The shortfall was CAD4.9 billion compared with CAD3.9 billion a year earlier, with about CAD0.7 billion related to a 24% rise in financing costs.
There was a similar trend since the fiscal year started in April with a deficit of CAD1.2 billion versus a prior surplus of CAD6.3 billion. Program expenses climbed 5.9% at a time the government wants to avoid adding to inflation that could force the central bank to keep raising the highest policy interest rate since 2001.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's March budget estimated a CAD43 billion deficit in fiscal 2022-23 and CAD40.1 billion in the fiscal year that began April 1. Investors criticized the failure to seek a balanced budget as the economy emerged from the pandemic. (See: MNI INTERVIEW:Busted Canada Debt Goal Means Pain Later-Ex Aide) The government also has CAD52 billion of cash, some of it stockpiled during the pandemic slump. That's down from CAD107 billion a year ago.