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2008 fiscal deficit preliminary HUF 907.1 bln

Excluding local governments, Hungary posted a cash flow-based general government surplus of HUF 68.6 billion in December, bringing the annual deficit to HUF 907.1 billion or 3.3% of GDP in 2008, the Finance Ministry said based on preliminary figures.

The December surplus is HUF 7.7 billion bigger and the annual deficit is HUF 7.7 billion lower than the ministry's respective forecasts, of HUF 60.9 billion and HUF 914.8 billion, released on December 16.

The annual cashflow-based deficit ratio is slightly lower than the 3.4%-of-GDP deficit projected in the middle of December.

The 2008 central budget deficit came to a preliminary HUF 861.7 billion, down on the HUF 880 billion December forecast.

The two social insurance funds ran a combined full-year deficit of HUF 73.4 billion in 2008. The preliminary deficit is higher than a HUF 61 billion full-year shortfall projected for the funds in the December forecast.

Separate state funds had an annual surplus of HUF 28 billion last year, slightly up from a projected surplus of HUF 26.2 billion.

The bulk of the higher-than-foreseen December surplus came from the central budget which posted a HUF 111.9 billion surplus last month, up from the HUF 93.6 billion forecast.

The December position of the two social insurance funds was, in contrast, worse than forecast, with a HUF 2.3 billion deficit against a forecast surplus of HUF 10.1 billion, and the separate state funds ran a HUF 41 billion deficit in December, slightly less than their projected deficit of HUF 42.9 billion.

The Finance Ministry will publish detailed December and 2008 figures on January 20. (MTI – Econews)