Turkey posts around $500 million budget deficit in February

Turkey posts around $500 million budget deficit in February

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkey posts around $500 million budget deficit in February

Turkey’s central government’s budget balance saw a deficit of 1.9 billion Turkish Liras ($502 million) in February, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal announced on March 15.

The country’s budget revenues rose 30.1 percent to 61 billion liras ($16.14 billion) last month compared to the same month of last year, Ağbal said in a statement issued by the ministry’s press office.

Budget expenses also rose 17 percent to reach 62.9 billion liras ($16.64 billion) in the same period.

In February 2017, the central government’s budget deficit was 6.8 billion liras ($1.85 billion).

Excluding interest payments, the budget recorded a surplus of 4.8 billion liras (around $1.27 billion) in February while interest expenditures were around 6.6 billion liras ($1.76 billion).

The government’s tax revenues reached 52.56 billion liras ($13.9 billion) in the second month of this year, a 31.4 percent annual rise in tax collection.

In the January-February period, the government’s budget balance also saw a deficit of 201 million liras ($53.2 million). The balance saw a surplus of 4.6 billion liras (around $1.24 billion) in the same period of 2017.

‘In line with budget targets’

The country’s budget revenues rose 12.8 percent to 119.2 billion liras ($31.53 billion), while its expenses rose 18.1 percent to 119.4 billion liras ($31.58 billion) year-on-year in the same period.

“In the first two months of the year, budget expenses were consonant with budget targets,” Ağbal said, adding that the biggest increase in expenses was seen in investment expenditures.

“We will continue to remain committed to achieving the year-end budget target by staying within the medium-term program objectives in the coming months,” he said.

Last year, Turkey’s central government budget balance showed a deficit of 47.4 billion liras ($12.9 billion), which was below expectations and around 1.5 percent of GDP.

Turkey’s budget revenue hit 630.3 billion Turkish liras ($172.7 billion) last year, while expenditures were 677.7 billion liras ($185.6 billion) including interest payments.

The government’s annual budget balance saw a non-interest surplus of 9.3 billion liras ($2.6 billion) in 2017, considering interest expenditures of 56.7 billion liras ($15.5 billion).

As noted in the country’s medium-term program, the budget deficit/GDP ratio is targeted as 1.9 percent in 2018, 1.9 percent in 2019, and 1.6 percent in 2020.

According to the Turkish Central Bank, the average USD/TRY exchange rate was 3.78 in January and February, up from 3.68 in the same months of 2017.