UPDATE 1-Canada's 2012-13 deficit lower than budget forecast

Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:36pm EDT
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* Final budget deficit for 2012-13 was C$18.9 bln

* March budget had forecast C$25.9 bln gap

* Report in May said it would be C$18.3 bln

* Direct program spending declines slightly

* Debt-to-GDP ratio a little lower; lowest in Group of Seven

By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Canada's final budget figures for the fiscal year that ended in March show a deficit of C$18.9 billion ($18.3 billion), slightly higher than a government estimate released in May, but much lower than the forecast it released in its March budget.

In a preliminary report on May 31, the Finance Department's Fiscal Monitor estimated a shortfall of C$18.3 billion for the 2012-13 year, while the government's annual budget released on March 21 had projected the deficit would be C$25.9 billion.

The budget deficit had hit a record C$55.6 billion in 2009-10.   Continued...