■ The US budget deficit widened to $191bn (£118bn) in August, mostly due to monthly benefit payments that were made earlier because of the September labor day holiday weekend. The deficit in August 2011 was $134bn. The Treasury Department said yesterday that receipts totaled $179bn in August, up $10bn from the same period last year. Monthly outlays totalled $369bn, up $66bn from August 2011 as the government accelerated $57bn in benefit payments that would have been made in September. For the first 11 months of fiscal 2012, the government’s budget deficit totaled $1.164 trillion compared with $1.234 trillion in the same period last year. In July the White House forecast that the budget gap will total $1.2 trillion this year, down from $1.3 trillion last year.