November 12, 2014 / 5:44 PM / 4 years ago

Canada to run 2015-16 surplus despite tax cuts, low oil prices

OTTAWA/TORONTO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The Canadian budget will emerge from seven years of deficits stemming from the 2007-09 financial crisis and show a C$1.9 billion ($1.7 billion) surplus next year, despite lower oil prices and a package of previously announced tax cuts.

The Canadian flag is seen on top of a flagpole in the midst of high-rise buildings in the financial district of Toronto April 3, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Conservative Finance Minister Joe Oliver unveiled the projections on Wednesday in the fall update of the February budget. It leaves some but limited scope for political parties to offer new spending and tax cuts in next October’s election.

It shows a C$2.9 billion deficit for the fiscal year ending next March, and surpluses rising to C$13.1 billion by 2019-20.

The update takes into account C$26.8 billion in family tax cuts and benefits over six years announced on Oct. 30.

A fall in oil prices over the past two months is estimated to be cutting C$500 million from government revenues in 2014-15 and C$2.5 billion a year thereafter.

The budget figures also provide a C$3 billion contingency cushion for each year, one that it has maintained at C$3 billion for the current year, even though the year is more than half way finished, because of uncertainty over oil prices and the economy.

That means that there is an underlying surplus of C$100 million for the current fiscal year and an underlying surplus of C$4.9 billion for 2015-16.

The update projects the ratio of debt to gross domestic product falling to below its pre-recession level by 2017 and declining to 24.3 percent by 2019-20.

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