RP May budget surplus $159 mln


Posted at Jun 18 2008 03:17 PM | Updated as of Jun 18 2008 11:17 PM


MANILA - The Philippines had a budget surplus in May of 7 billion pesos ($159 million), official data showed on Wednesday, even though the government has promised more spending to support the economy and shield the poor from inflation.

The latest data brings the government's fiscal shortfall in the first five months of the year to 18.8 billion pesos, less than half its deficit of 41.8 billion pesos a year earlier.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has abandoned her goal of balancing the budget this year in order to help the 30 million Filipinos who live on less than $1 a day and are suffering after inflation jumped to a nine-year high of 9.6 percent in May.

The Philippines now expects a budget deficit of as much as 75 billion pesos this year, about 1 percent of gross domestic product, compared to 0.2 percent of GDP last year.

   The government said this month it could seek up to $750 million from international debt markets this year to fund the shortfall.