Canada budget deficit shrinks in November

Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:30am EST
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* November deficit C$614 mln; year earlier C$1.67 bln

* April-Nov deficit C$13.85 bln vs yr-before C$13.62 bln

* Absent one-off factors, April-Nov gap would be C$11.7 bln

OTTAWA, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Canada's federal budget deficit narrowed in November 2013 to C$614 million ($548 million) from C$1.67 billion a year earlier, with higher revenues outstripping a more modest increase in expenses, the Department of Finance said on Friday.

The deficit for the April-November period, representing the first eight months of the fiscal year, increased to C$13.85 billion from C$13.62 billion in the same period in 2012.

The increase in the deficit for the year to date was mainly due to a C$2.8 billion liability the government booked in September for helping Alberta recover from floods in July. The government had also registered a C$700 million gain on the sale of General Motors Co stock. Absent these two factors, the deficit for April to November would have been C$11.7 billion.

The Conservative government ran a record budget deficit in nominal terms, though not in proportion to the size of the economy, in reaction to the recent Great Recession, but it has pledged to return to the black by 2015.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, in announcing that he will deliver his 2014-15 budget on Feb. 11, said on Monday there was no doubt the federal deficit would be balanced in 2015.

For the month of November, revenues were up 8.2 percent and program spending by 3.3 percent from a year earlier, while public debt charges declined by 2.0 percent.