Canada budget deficit higher than forecast, Europe blamed
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's budget deficit for the 2011-12 fiscal year was a higher-than-forecast C$26.2 billion ($26.7 billion), in part because the European crisis cut revenues, government officials said on Friday.
Initial figures released in May put the deficit at C$23.5 billion. The government's forecast deficit for the year was C$24.9 billion.
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in a statement that despite risks to the government's fiscal outlook, Ottawa is committed to balancing the budget over the medium term.
An official said revenues in the first few months of 2012 were lower than expected, largely because of the European crisis. The crisis has helped to dampen economic growth globally.
Revenues were up by C$8.1 billion, or 3.4 percent, compared with a forecast increase of C$10.9 billion in the government's March 2012 budget.
Flaherty said Canada's total government net debt-to-GDP ratio - which includes the net debt of the federal, provincial and local governments - was 33.3 per cent in 2011. He said this was the lowest of any member of the Group of Seven industrialized nations.
The full government report on the figures for 2011-12 said the key risk to the Canadian economy is the European crisis, a view that echoes recent comments made by Flaherty.
It also said there remained significant uncertainty regarding the direction of U.S. fiscal policy in early 2013.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway)
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