Puerto Rico's revenue surges, beats quarterly estimates
WASHINGTON Oct 14 (Reuters) - Puerto Rico's revenue rose 21 percent to $731 million in September from the same month last year, helping the struggling territory beat revenue forecasts for the quarter, its treasury secretary said on Monday.
Puerto Rico last week initially estimated its September revenues had risen 18 percent from a year earlier.
The final numbers also showed revenue for the first quarter of the island's fiscal year, which began in July, totaled $1.7 billion, up 5.4 percent from the same quarter last year, Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta said in a statement.
Puerto Rico had initially estimated its first-quarter revenue would rise only 4.4 percent, leading it to miss its budget target by $7 million.
But the final numbers show Puerto Rico beat forecasts for the quarter by $10.4 million, said Acosta.
"These results demonstrate progress on the fiscal stabilization and responsibility measures this administration has taken, and we remain focused on implementing fiscal oversight measures to increase revenue collections," she said in a statement.
Puerto Rico has about $70 billion of outstanding debt, or nearly 2 percent of overall outstanding debt in the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market, much of which is held by mutual funds. Its high jobless rate and shrinking economy have lately sparked worries the territory could default on its debt or require a federal bailout.
Since January, the island has been working with the White House and Treasury Department on economic development. Last week, Puerto Rico Senate President Eduardo Bhatia said he expects U.S. officials to soon announce some form of assistance, though likely not direct financial aid.
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