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June budget deficit less than expected

Hungary's budge deficit in June came in at Ft 303.9 billion, compared with a government forecast of Ft 337 billion, the Finance Ministry said in a statement yesterday. The country's six-month deficit was Ft 1.28 trillion. The gap rose to 72.7% of the government's revised annual target of Ft 1.77 trillion, or 7.6% of gross domestic product. The government raised its annual goal for the cash-based budget deficit from Ft 1.55 trillion on June 20, two weeks after it increased the target based on European Union standards. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány wants to reduce the shortfall, the EU's largest compared with the size of the economy, which is expected to surpass targets for a fifth consecutive year. Gyurcsány has pledged to raise taxes, boost energy prices and cut government jobs to trim the deficit. (Bloomberg, NG, MH)