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Portugal central government posts surplus in January

imageLISBON: Portugal's central government posted a surplus of 400 million euros ($549 million) in January, helping to sharply improve the country's budget performance ahead of a planned exit from its international bailout.

The finance ministry said on Tuesday the surplus compared with a deficit of 167.5 million euros in January 2013. The overall state sector budget surplus was 639 million euros last month, compared with a surplus of 130 million euros in January last year.

Portugal, which hopes to smoothly exit its bailout in May, needs to cut its budget deficit to 4 percent of gross domestic product this year from 5.5 percent in 2013.

The data showed that tax revenues jumped 10 percent in January from a year earlier, to 2.95 billion euros, indicating rising economic activity.

The rise in revenues in January represented the second largest increase for that month in 10 years, the ministry said. Spending by the central government fell 3.8 percent in January from the same month a year earlier.

Copyright Reuters, 2014