The federal government ran a deficit of $5.9 billion over the first half of its fiscal year, a more modest dive into the red over the same period last year, the monthly fiscal monitor report says. Between April and September of the 2016-17 fiscal year, the Liberals ran a deficit of $7.8 billion.

But for September alone, the government ran a budgetary deficit of $3.2 billion, which was higher than the $2.4 billion recorded during the same month last year.

The report says government revenue between April and September of this year was up $6.9 billion to $146.3 billion, a 4.9% increase over the same period last year.

Personal and corporate tax revenues climbed by 6.2% and 6.8%, respectively, compared to last year. Excise taxes and duties were up $2.3 billion, or 8.9%, and GST revenues rose by $2 billion, or 11.5%.

Energy taxes increased by about $100 million, or 2.9%.

Program spending increased $5.7 billion, or 4.2%, to $140.4 billion.

Public debt charges fell $600 million to $11.9 billion due in large part to lower average effective interest rates.

The government’s fall economic update projected a spending shortfall this fiscal year of $18.4 billion, down from the $25.5 billion outlined in the March budget.

For the next fiscal year starting in April 2018, the Liberals now predict a $15.6-billion deficit, compared with the $24.4-billion projection from the spring.

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