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Hungary’s cash flow-based budget, excluding local councils, ran a 1,219 billion forint deficit at the end of December, the Finance Ministry said on Thursday.

The deficit was 122 percent of the 998.4 billion forint full-year target. A month earlier, the Finance Ministry said the full-year deficit target was still “achievable” despite the significant November shortfall (190.9 billion forints).

Finance Ministry: Full-year Deficit Target ‘Achievable’

Alone in the month of December, the budget was 452.7 billion forints in the red.

The ministry noted that central budget pre-financing for European Union-funded projects continued to have an impact on the balance: payouts for such projects reached 1,556.8 billion forints for the year, while transfers from Brussels came to 1,468.6 billion forints.

Big spending tickets were on investments undertaken in the framework of the Modern Cities scheme and the Hungarian Village programme, as well as road and railway upgrades and incentives for business investments to improve competitiveness, the ministry said.

Expenditures were also lifted by a package of family support measures that included prenatal baby support loans and subsidies for vehicles for large families, by premiums for pensioners linked to economic growth and by wage rises in the public sector, it added.

The ministry said the deficit calculated according to the EU’s accrual-based accounting rules “could turn out to be well below the EU criterion”.

The government targets a shortfall of 1.8 percent of GDP in 2019.

In the featured photo: Finance Minister Mihály Varga. Photo by Tibor Illyés/MTI