Federal government runs $1.6B surplus for February compared with $1.5B year ago

OTTAWA – The federal government ran a surplus of $1.6 billion for February, slightly better than the $1.5 billion it did in the same month last year.

The surplus for the month brought Ottawa’s deficit for the first 11 months of its fiscal year to $11.8 billion compared with a deficit of $12.6 billion at the same point last year.

TD Bank economist Sonya Gulati said the year-to-date results are a ways off the revised deficit estimate of $25.9 billion for the full year that was included in the 2013 budget.

“One more month of data and typical year-end adjustments could bring the numbers closer together. Alternatively, there could be a slightly better deficit figure once numbers are put to bed in the Public Accounts,” Gulati wrote in a note to clients.

The Finance Department’s monthly update says government revenue in February rose to $23.4 billion, up $500 million or 2.4 per cent compared with a year earlier.

The increase was mainly due to an 11.2 per cent increase in personal income tax revenue, which was up by $1.1 billion, as well as smaller increases from the goods and service tax, energy taxes and premiums on employment insurance.

That was partially offset by a decline in corporate income taxes, which were down $500 million or 10.7 per cent.

Ottawa’s program spending were up $600 million, or 3.1 per cent, and rose to $19.7 billion due to increased transfers to individuals, other levels of government and the federal government’s own program spending.

Public debt charges totalled $2.138 billion in February, down $125 million or 5.5 per cent from $2.262 billion a year before.