Canada budget deficit over first ten months of 2023/24 grows to C$25.7 billion

Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland takes part in a press conference before delivering the fall economic update in Ottawa

OTTAWA, March 22 (Reuters) - Canada recorded a sharply higher C$25.7 billion ($18.94 billion) budget deficit in the first ten months of the 2023/24 fiscal year as government expenditures grew faster than revenues, the finance ministry said on Friday.

By comparison, the deficit in the same period a year earlier was C$6.4 billion, the ministry said in a statement.

Program expenses, which are usually salaries of government employees, grants, subsidies and capital expenditure, rose 6.7% on increases across all major categories of spending.

Public debt charges jumped by 35.9% largely because of higher interest rates, the ministry said.

Year-to-date revenues grew by 3%, largely reflecting higher personal income tax revenue and revenue from other taxes and duties.

On a monthly basis, Canada posted a deficit of C$2.1 billion in January, compared to a C$0.9 billion deficit in January 2023.

($1 = 1.3571 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee, editing by Ismail Shakil)