March 12, 2018 / 6:06 PM / a year ago

U.S. government posts $215 billion deficit in February

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government had a $215 billion budget shortfall in February as revenues into the government’s coffers fell and outlays increased, the Treasury Department said on Monday.

That compared with a budget deficit of $192 billion in the same month last year, according to Treasury’s monthly budget statement.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the Treasury recording a $216 billion deficit last month.

The deficit for February was not affected by timing-related transactions.

The deficit for the fiscal year, which began in October, was $391 billion, compared to a deficit of $351 billion in the same period of fiscal 2017.

When accounting for calendar adjustments, the deficit for the fiscal year to date was $448 billion, compared to an adjusted total of $390 billion for the prior fiscal year.

A combination of tax cuts passed by the Trump administration late last year and an increase in government spending agreed in early February are set to add to the nation’s budget gap with $1 trillion annual deficits on the horizon.

There were four consecutive $1-trillion deficits under former President Barack Obama. But they resulted from a historic financial crisis, a recession and stimulative spending. Last year’s annual fiscal deficit was $666 billion.

Receipts last month totaled $156 billion, down 9 percent from February 2017, while outlays stood at $371 billion, an increase of 2 percent from the same month a year earlier.

Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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