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March deficit reaches over annual plan

Hungary's general government deficit, excluding local councils, reached HUF 742.1 billion at the end of March or 108% of the full-year target, the National Economy Ministry told MTI on Thursday.

The central budget had a HUF 687.6 billion deficit during the period or 112.1% of the full-year target. The social insurance funds showed a HUF 98.4 billion gap or 110.9% of the full-year target. Separate state funds had a HUF 43.9 billion surplus.

The ministry attributed the March deficit to the timing of the arrival of revenue, noting that HUF 690 billion in revenue from extraordinary taxes on sectors as well as revenue of the Pension Reform and Debt Reduction Fund will arrive only in the second half of the year, and to cost-saving measures adding up to HUF 250 billion of which most will be implemented only in the remainder of the year.

If the balance at the end of March is adjusted to reflect these items pro-rata, the deficit would be HUF 507.1 billion or 73.8% of the full-year target, the ministry said.

The ministry said central budget revenue in March was about HUF 93 billion more than in the same month a year earlier and expenditures were down almost HUF 22 billion. Interest expenditures fell by HUF 14.1 billion to HUF 53.5 billion and interest revenue was down HUF 10.4 billion at HUF 4.9 billion.