August 28, 2015 / 3:16 PM / 2 years ago

Canada post surplus in first quarter of fiscal year

OTTAWA, (Reuters) - The Canadian government posted a budget surplus in June when higher revenues helped offset an increase in program expenses as a childcare benefit was expanded, the finance department said on Friday.

The Canadian flag flies on Parliament Hill in Ottawa August 2, 2015. REUTERS/Blair Gable

June’s surplus was C$1.07 billion ($811 million), slightly lower than the surplus of C$1.57 billion in June the year before.

For the fiscal year that began in April, the government recorded a surplus of C$5.01 billion, up from a C$424 million surplus in the same time period for 2014.

Revenues increased by C$6.2 billion in the first three months of the fiscal year, helped in part by gains realized on the sale of the government’s remaining shares of General Motors in April of this year. That tempered some of the C$2.2 billion increase in program expanses.

While the results for the first three months of the fiscal year provide only limited information on the outlook for the year as a whole, they are consistent with the fiscal projection for 2015-16 that was presented in the budget, the government said.

The budget released last April forecast a surplus of C$1.4 billion for the current fiscal year after seven years of deficits, though some have questioned whether the government will still be able to run a surplus in light of the slide in oil prices, a major export for Canada.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr, editing by David Ljunggren

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