The Finance Ministry forecasts a cashflow-based general government deficit of Ft 262.6 billion (€1 billion) excluding local councils in March, undersecretary Tamás Katona announced late on Thursday.For the first quarter, the ministry maintains its deficit forecast of Ft 698.1 billion, or 3% of GDP and it also maintains the cashflow-based general government deficit target of Ft 1,545.8 billion, or 6.6% of GDP, excluding local governments, for the whole of 2006, Katona said. The final February deficit was unchanged from a preliminary Ft 295.1 billion announced on March 7, Ft 2.5 billion under the Finance Ministry's forecast. Thursday's Q1 forecast was actually revised down by a slight Ft 0.58 billion, figures on the ministry's website show. Similar to last year, the deficit is not equally distributed over the year and much of it will be registered in the first few months, Katona said, noting the payment of the two-month extra pension, which added Ft 80 billion to expenditures in February. He added that part of agricultural support earmarked for March was also disbursed in February.
February's twelve-month 2.5% CPI was is in line with the Finance Ministry's forecast, and the 2.3% harmonized consumer price index (HICP) was the same as the average February HICP of the EU-25, Katona said.