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Q1 fiscal deficit preliminary HUF 609.9 billion, lower than forecast, Fin Min says

Hungary had a HUF 259.3 billion cash flow based general government deficit, excluding local councils in March, preliminary figures of the Finance Ministry published on Wednesday show. The first-quarter deficit came to HUF 609.9 billion or 69.4% of the full-year target, down from the ministry's projection.

The ministry had forecast a March deficit of HUF 304.5 billion and first-quarter deficit of HUF 651.3 billion or 74% of the full-year target. Finance Minister Péter Oszkó recently said already, however, that the actual deficit may be lower than the forecast as tax revenues were slightly higher than expected.

The central budget ran a HUF 608 billion deficit in Q1 and the social security funds had a HUF 24.8 billion deficit. Separate state funds had a HUF 22.9 billion surplus.

The general government deficits compare to a HUF 309.4 billion deficit in March 2009 and a HUF 567.8 billion shortfall in Q1 last year.

The ministry said earlier, however, that several big expenditure items would raise the deficit more in the first quarter than in the same period a year earlier, among them HUF 55 billion in interest expenditures, HUF 40 billion in hospital financing, HUF 20 billion in support for state-owned railway company MÁV and HUF 10 billion in wage supplements.

The Finance Ministry raised the original fully-year cash-flow deficit forecast by HUF 8.6 billion to HUF 878.9 billion in the middle of February.

The ministry projects the cash flow based general government deficit, excluding local councils, to be HUF 81.9 billion in April, and the deficit of the first four months to be HUF 691.8 billion or 78.7% of the full-year target. (MTI-Econews)