MANILA, Philippines – The government’s finance department (DOF) announced on Monday, December 29, that the year-to-date fiscal deficit of P26.8-billion ($599.21 million*) is within the target.
The deficit for the January-November period is 76% lower than last year’s level.
The 2014 ceiling is P266 billion ($5.95 billion).
The DOF also said the country posted P6.8-billion ($152.02 million) fiscal surplus – the 4th monthly surplus registered this year and higher by P1 billion ($22.36 million) from 2013.
Net of interest payments, the government posted a primary surplus of P24.9 billion ($556.74 million) versus November 2013’s P19.1 billion ($427.05 million).
The January-November primary surplus of P265.5 billion ($5.94 billion) is 43% higher than previous year’s level.
Total revenues in November, meanwhile, hit P158.2 billion ($3.54 billion).
Year-on-year, total revenues reached P1.74 trillion ($38.90 billion), expanding 10.8% from previous level.
For January-November, expenditures reached P1.76 trillion ($39.35 billion), a 5.1% uptick from year-ago level.
A deficit occurs when expenditures surpass revenues, while surplus happens when revenues outpace expenditures.
As such, the latest posted monthly budget surplus showed that the government is still underspending.
The lack of fiscal stimulus dragged down the economy to a 3rd quarter performance of 5.3%.
Following the country’s sluggish economic growth for the January-September period, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) slashed its 2014 performance forecast for the Philippines by 0.2 percentage points to 6%, the regional lender said in its latest Asian Development Outlook supplement report for December.
Despite robust private consumption, higher private investment, and net exports, weak public spending prevailed, contributing to the dismal gross domestic product (GDP) growth, thus, prompting ADB to slash its growth forecast for the country.
But the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said earlier in December that the Philippine economy will expand faster in the 4th quarter of 2014.
The resumption of public spending is also seen to steer the country back to a “high growth path” of over 7% in 2015, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said earlier in December.
In a statement Monday, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima hailed Moody’s Investor Service’s recent credit rating upgrade and the improved standing of the country in the Millennium Challenge Corporation as proof of the administration’s prudent fiscal management.
“Prudent fiscal management by the national government keeps us in this sweet spot, reaping rewards and raring to reach for more,” Purisima said. – Rappler.com