First-quarter budget deficit hits 5.5 billion Turkish Liras

First-quarter budget deficit hits 5.5 billion Turkish Liras

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
First-quarter budget deficit hits 5.5 billion Turkish Liras

Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek reveals a report on 2012 January-March period budget realization. Budget revenues were at 77.4 billion liras in the period. AA photo

Turkey’s budget deficit for the first three months of 2012 was 5.5 billion Turkish Liras, Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek announced yesterday.

The country’s budget revenues rose 12.6 percent to 77.4 billion Turkish Liras in the first quarter in comparison to the same period in 2011 while budget expenditures rose 15.1 percent to 83.8 billion liras, he said.

The budget deficit for March was 5 billion liras, Şimşek said, adding that the primary surplus was 10.9 billion liras.

Tax revenues rose 12.2 percent to 64.5 billion liras in the first quarter, he said.

Şimşek had warned last week that the country might not be as successful as 2011 since a huge portion of the nation’s resources – or 11 billion liras – had gone toward the victims of last year’s earthquakes in Van, as well as infrastructure spending and education.

“[Thus], government ministries should not expect any additional payments this year as they have in the past,” he said.

“There are a couple of risks for the global economy. Quickly increasing oil prices top those risks,” Şimşek said.

The finance minister said he did not expect oil prices to increase more with seasonal effects likely to kick in during the second quarter of the year but added that prices may start to climb again in the third quarter if optimism stemming from the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monetary policies continues.

The ECB has provided 1 trillion euros of liquidity to banks – a figure that is enough to contain the crisis, thus providing time for European policy-makers to get their financial house in order, he said. “So it is right to say there is a relative optimism [because of this].”

Under the circumstances, Turkey’s fundamentals are sound and the Turkish economy has surpassed the pre-crisis level, Şimşek said. “If the Turkish economy was equal to 100 at fixed prices before the crisis, it was at about 111 as of the end of 2011.”