March 30, 2008 / 2:02 AM / in 10 years

Canada has $592 mln budget surplus in January

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada posted a $592 million budget surplus in January and nearly $10 billion for the first 10 months of the fiscal year, the finance department said on Friday.

<p>A Canadian one dollar coin, also know as a loonie, is shown in Montreal, April 28, 2006. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>

The January surplus was down from the $2.40 billion recorded in January 2007, partly because of income and sales tax cuts introduced in the October economic statement.

The surplus of $9.96 billion for April through January was down from the year-earlier $10.60 billion but was most of the way to the $10.2 billion that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty predicted in his budget last month for the full fiscal year. It would mark the 11th consecutive surplus.

The surplus is slated to pay down debt. The surplus for the year starting on April 1 is expected to be a much smaller $2.3 billion and in the following year only $1.3 billion.

Government program expenses were up 5.6 percent in January from the year before, and were 7.2 percent higher in the first 10 months from the same period a year earlier.

Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway

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