December 17, 2019 / 12:39 AM / a month ago

Portugal draft budget targets first surplus in decades, solid growth

FILE PHOTO: Portugal's Finance Minister Mario Centeno speaks during a news conference in Lisbon, Portugal, December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal’s government unveiled its draft 2020 budget on Tuesday, projecting the country’s first fiscal surplus in 45 years of democracy on solid growth and promising a gentle tax reduction for small firms and more taxes on bullfighting events.

“It is the first budget delivered with a surplus,” Portugal’s finance minister Mario Centeno told reporters. “Growing, consolidating public accounts and reducing debt is very rare worldwide.”

The envisaged surplus of 0.2% of gross domestic product comes after a projected deficit of 0.1% for 2019.

The surplus will provide an extra push to alleviate Portugal’s debt burden - still among the highest in the euro zone - but expected to drop to 116.2% of the nation’s GDP from this year’s 118.9%.

Reporting by Sergio Goncalves and Catarina Demony; Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Tom Hogue

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