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Thai cabinet approves larger budget deficit for next fiscal year

[BANGKOK] Thailand's military government has approved a 56 per cent increase in the budget deficit planned for the next fiscal year as it is trying revive the economy after a coup in May ended months of political unrest.

In the fiscal year starting Oct 1, the budget deficit is projected at 390 billion baht (US$12 billion), up from the current year's 250 billion baht, government spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Expenditure will increase 5.6 per cent to 2.72 trillion baht, he said.

Of total spending, 544 billion baht will be for investment, he added.

The junta took power in May to end months of political unrest and has said it needs to invest in infrastructure projects to support Southeast Asia's second-largest economy at a time of weak exports and subdued consumption.