Turkey runs nearly $7 bln budget deficit in first half of 2017: Minister

Turkey runs nearly $7 bln budget deficit in first half of 2017: Minister

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkey runs nearly $7 bln budget deficit in first half of 2017: Minister

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Turkey ran a budget deficit of 25.2 billion Turkish Liras (about $6.9 billion) this January to June with fiscal measures to stimulate the economy costing nearly 12 billion liras ($3.3 billion), Finance Minister Naci Ağbal said on July 17.        

The budget deficit in June stood at 13.7 billion liras (approximately $3.9 billion), compared to a surplus of 6.4 billion liras (around $1.8 billion) in May.        

“The budget deficit for the first six months of this year stands at 53.9 percent of the government’s end-year targets,” Ağbal said.        

The government is aiming for a budget deficit of 46.9 billion liras (nearly $12.9 billion) at the end of the year, according to the Finance Ministry.        

Turkey’s government ran a 29.3 billion lira (some $9.7 billion) budget deficit last year.        

Ağbal said government revenues in the first six months reached 299.2 billion liras (approximately $82.2 billion), while budget expenditures were 324.4 billion liras (around $89.1 billion), marking an almost $7 billion deficit. 
“Fiscal measures to stimulate the economy, like expenditure programs and tax incentives, cost 11.9 billion liras [some $3.3 billion] in the 2017 budget,” he said.       
Between January and June, government tax revenues came in at 246.1 billion liras (around $67.6 billion), while interest expenditures reached 27 billion liras (nearly $7.4 billion) over the same period.  
Ağbal stated that there would be no tax increases or adjustments for the purpose of extra revenue until the end of this year.        

“The Turkish economy showed a strong recovery in all respects,” he said.  
“Last year’s coup attempt, terrorist incidents, geopolitical developments, weak foreign demand, and the referendum process... All of them tested the strength of our economy,” he said, in which he referred to a public vote this April on a series of sweeping changes to Turkey’s constitution.    
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, Turkey’s economy grew 5 percent in the first quarter this year, compared to the period of January-March 2016.     
Over the last three years, the Turkish economy expanded 5.2 percent in 2014, 6.1 percent in 2015, and 2.9 percent in 2016.  
The Turkish economy’s growth target for the end of 2017 is 4.4 percent, according to the government’s medium-term program.