WASHINGTON Jan 11 The U.S. federal government
posted its narrowest December budget deficit in five years as
revenues rose in part due to worries about possible changes in
the tax code, the U.S. Treasury said on Friday.
The budget registered a marginal $260 million deficit as
receipts and outlays largely canceled each other out - a balance
that is not expected to persist.
That was the narrowest since a surplus in December 2007, and
compared with a November deficit of $172.1 billion. The figure
surprised Wall Street economists who had been expecting a $22.50
The total deficit for fiscal 2012 was $1.089 trillion.
The U.S. Treasury last month announced the first in a series
of measures that analysts say pushed back the date when it will
hit the debt ceiling from Dec. 31 to sometime between
mid-February and early March.
The government is facing a crunch on the debt ceiling
because the issue has become ensnarled in talks to avoid some
$600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts which had been due
to begin in early January. Failing to raise the debt ceiling
could cause the government to default on its debt.