Canada posts small budget surplus in first nine months of 2018/19

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau walk from Trudeau's office to the House of Commons to deliver the budget on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Canada posted a small budget surplus in the first nine months of the 2018/19 fiscal year compared to a large deficit the year earlier thanks to increased revenues, the finance ministry said on Friday.

The surplus for April-December was C$0.32 billion ($0.24 billion), compared to a deficit of C$8.93 billion in the same 2017/18 period.

Revenues climbed by 8.7 percent, mainly due to higher tax receipts, while program expenses rose by 3.9 percent.

The surplus for December was C$2.45 billion, up from the C$0.52 billion surplus recorded in December 2017. Revenues jumped by 9.8 percent while program expenses posted a more modest 1.8 percent gain.

Last November, the Liberal government unveiled a budget update that projected a C$18.1 billion deficit for 2018/19.

Reporting by Julie Gordon and David Ljunggren in Ottawa