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Pakistan's 6-month fiscal deficit at 2.7 pct of GDP

KARACHI, March 1 (Reuters) - Pakistan’s budget deficit for the first six months of the 2009/10 fiscal year (July-June) was 2.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the Finance Ministry said on its web site on Monday.

This was within a target that the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had set.

The budget deficit for the first three months was 1.5 percent of GDP, which was 0.2 percent higher than the target of 1.3 percent.

Pakistan pledged to keep its fiscal deficit at 4.9 percent of GDP in the 2009/10 fiscal year under a loan agreement with the IMF.

Outgoing Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said in January the fiscal deficit could rise to 5.3 percent of GDP.

However, analysts said the deficit could be contained if sufficient external flows came in before the end of the fiscal year.

Pakistan agreed in November 2008 to an IMF emergency loan package of $7.6 billion to avert a balance of payments crisis and shore up reserves. In July, the Fund increased the loan to $11.3 billion. (Reporting by Sahar Ahmed; Editing by Robert Birsel) (For more Reuters coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, see: here)