US budget deficit shrinks to US$483b: Treasury

[Washington] The US budget deficit fell by nearly a third to US$483 billion in fiscal 2014, the lowest level since 2008, as US economic growth boosted tax collections, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

The deficit, down from US$680 billion last year, was the lowest since a US$459 billion budget gap in fiscal 2008, which was followed by four straight years of US$1 trillion-plus deficits.

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and White House Budget Director Shaun Donovan hailed the data as a "return to fiscal normalcy" as the 2014 deficit fell to 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product. That's the lowest since 2007 and a smaller share of the economy than the average for the last 40 years.

Lew told a news conference that the United States was now in a period of fiscal sustainability that is providing a strong foundation for growth. "What I don't think we have is an emergency right now," Lew said. "The challenge we have is to sustain the economic engine so that we're seeing the growth now and over these next 10 years." For the month of September, the Treasury recorded a budget surplus of US$106 billion, up from a year-ago surplus of US$75 billion. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a US$80.9 billion surplus for the final month of fiscal 2014. REUTERS

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