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Turkish budget deficit widens 37% in first quarter

Turkish budget deficit widens 37% in first quarter

ANKARA: Turkey’s budget posted a deficit of 20.4 billion liras ($5 billion) in the first quarter, an increase of 37 percent over a year ago, as spending on local government, real estate and the defence industry jumped, Finance Ministry data showed.

The deficit widened from 14.9 billion liras in the first three months of 2017, according to figures published by the ministry on Monday.

The deficit was equivalent to 34 percent of the government’s year-end target of 65.9 billion liras, the data showed.

Turkey’s government is seeking to boost economic growth through tax breaks, investment incentives and public spending ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections next year.

Tax revenue rose an annual 20 percent in the first quarter to 145.8 billion liras. Overall revenue increased 16 percent to 167.4 million liras. Spending, excluding interest payments on debt, climbed 18 percent to 187.9 billion liras.