The federal government ran a $2.2-billion deficit in November, according to the Finance Department’s latest tracking report on federal spending and revenue.
So far this year, Ottawa has posted four months of surpluses, followed by four months of deficits.
In total, over those first eight months of the fiscal year, the federal deficit stood at $2.1-billion. That represents an improvement over the $9.5-billion deficit recorded during the same period one year earlier.
The monthly tracking suggests Ottawa is on track to beat its fiscal projections when Finance Minister Bill Morneau releases his budget for 2019, an election year. Mr. Morneau’s fall economic update, which was released on Nov. 21, projected this year’s deficit will be slightly smaller than the previous year’s.
The fall update projected a deficit of $18.1-billion for the current 2018-19 fiscal year, compared with a $19-billion deficit for 2017-18.
Mr. Morneau’s fall update did give the government some flexibility to beat the deficit target.
The deficit projection included a $3-billion “adjustment for risk” to cover unforeseen events or lower-than-expected economic growth. Absent that adjustment, the projected deficit for this year is $15.1-billion.
The Finance Department’s monthly reports provide a general sense of the direction of federal finances. However, in recent years, the government has tended to record large deficits in March, the last month of the fiscal year.