US budget gap narrows to $80bn for December

THE United States posted an $80bn (£50.7bn) budget deficit in December, slightly smaller than economists had expected, Treasury Department data showed yesterday.

The December deficit was narrower than December 2009’s gap of $91bn. The government has now posted a budget deficit for 27 straight months, the longest streak on record, the Treasury Department said.

A Treasury official said there were a number of unusual factors that affected the deficit comparison with the prior year. For example, the department pulled some spending intended for January 2010 into December 2009 to work around the timing of the New Years Day holiday which created a three-day weekend.

Receipts rose to $237bn in the latest month, up from $219bn a year earlier. Outlays rose to $317bn from $310bn in December 2009.