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PARIS: The French state cut its annual budget deficit last year more than expected to reach the smallest shortfall between spending and revenues since 2008, the budget ministry said on Tuesday.

The deficit came to 67.8 billion euros ($82.99 billion) last year, marking an improvement of 1.5 billion euros from 2016, the ministry said.

It was also better than the 69.3 billion euros originally budgeted by the previous Socialist government. A November update of the annual budget by the current government had foreseen a state deficit of 74.1 billion euros.

The better-than-expected result came thanks to strong value added sales tax and corporate tax as the economy picked up speed in the second half of the year, while government spending was kept in check, the ministry said.

The result raises the chances that France kept its overall public sector deficit within an EU limit of 3 percent of economic output, the ministry said.

France has not had an overall public deficit - which includes local authorities and welfare administrations in addition to the state - in line with the EU limit since 2007.

The figures for 2017 will not be published until the end of March.

 

Copyright Reuters, 2018

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