Budget balance returns to deficit in May at ₱146.8B

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 23) — The country's budget balance shifted to a ₱146.8-billion deficit in May from a surplus of ₱4.93 billion the month prior, according to Bureau of the Treasury figures published Thursday.

The deficit, down 26.72% year-on-year, comes as state spending fell 1.10% from May last year to ₱451.7 billion. However, spending still outpaced revenues, which grew 18.91% to ₱304.9 billion.

A deficit happens when the state spends more than it collects.

"The narrower budget deficit vs. a year ago could be attributed to the 45-day election ban on some public works/other government spending since March 25, 2022 could have also led to the unusual reduction/slowdown in government expenditures during the election month of May 2022," said RCBC chief economist Michael Ricafort in a note.

Ricafort further noted that laxer restrictions may have boosted the government's collection efforts.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue's collections netted ₱216.6 billion in May, up 17.91% year-on-year. Fellow collection agency Bureau of Customs raked in ₱66.3 billion - growing by 36.35%.

Meanwhile, the Treasury saw earnings dive 28.22% to ₱3.5 billion mainly due to lower dividend remittances from government-owned or -controlled corporations.

Other offices collected ₱10.4 billion in May, an 8.35% increase.