Austrian 2012 budget deficit lower than expected

Vienna, March 29 (IANS) Austria’s budget deficit for 2012 has proven significantly lower than the government expected, Statistics Austria said.

Standing at 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or 7.7 billion euros ($9.87 billion), the deficit ended up below the finance ministry’s Autumn forecast of 3.1 percent of the GDP and also puts it below the EU Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) target of 3 percent, reported Xinhua.

The nation’s leading politicians praised the outcome, with Chancellor Werner Faymann saying the surprisingly low figure showed Austria was on the right track.

Finance Minister Maria Fekter thanked states and local councils for their “impressive budget discipline”, and also the Austrian people.

The news was not all positive, however, with Austrian sovereign debt climbing to a new high of 227.4 billion euros or 73.4 percent of GDP, well over the SGP target of 60 percent, though it too was below the previous prognosis, which was 74.6 percent.

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