Canada October budget deficit widens, preliminary data show

FILE PHOTO: People walk on Parliament Hill the morning after the federal election in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada posted a budget deficit of C$3.25 billion ($2.44 billion) in October, up from a C$1.11-billion deficit in the same month last year, preliminary data from the federal finance ministry showed on Monday.

Revenues decreased by 4.6% in October while program expenses grew by 3.9%, largely reflecting an increase in direct program expenses and major transfers to other levels of government.

For the first seven months of the 2019/2020 fiscal year, Canada posted a deficit of C$9.05 billion, compared with a surplus of C$92 million in the same period of 2018/2019.

Revenues between April and October grew by 2.6%, largely due to an increase in personal income tax revenues, while program expenses posted an 7.9% gain on direct program expenses and major transfers to persons and other levels of government.

The financial results presented in the Fiscal Monitor have not been audited or reviewed by an external auditor, the department said, noting there can be “substantial volatility in monthly results”.

Reporting by Steve Scherer, Reuters Ottawa bureau