UPDATE 3-Canada pushes back date for wiping out budget deficit

Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:11pm EST
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* Gov't sees balanced budget not earlier than 2016-17

* Deficits seen slightly higher for next four years

* Weaker commodity prices, lower revenues spur new projection

* Ottawa maps contingency plan for shocks from U.S., Europe

* Opposition says Ottawa ignoring "warning signs"

By Louise Egan

OTTAWA, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Canada's government pushed back the target date for eliminating its budget deficit by a year on Tuesday, citing a weak global economy that has dampened prices for its exports of oil and other commodities.

The finance department projected federal budget deficits for this year and the following three years that are C$5 billion ($5 billion) to C$7 billion bigger than the government estimated in its March budget. It now sees a return to a small surplus in 2016-17, a year later than it had planned.

Analysts had expected some slippage in the timetable even though economic growth forecasts are largely unchanged from the March budget. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tried to downplay the revisions, saying a surplus would come sooner if not for a C$3 billion buffer against risk he included in the outlook.   Continued...