Strong revenue in December turns budget deficit into HK$5.8b surplus

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 February, 2007, 12:00am

Strong revenue in December turned the budget deficit in the first eight months of the financial year into a net surplus of HK$5.8 billion.

The figure already exceeds the administration's estimate of a HK$5.6 billion surplus for the whole financial year, which ends next month.

The surplus was mainly due to proceeds from land sales, profit and salaries tax in December totalling HK$26.9 billion, according to figures released by the Treasury.

Fiscal reserves stood at HK$316.5 billion at the end of December, up from HK$307.1 billion in November. Analysts and political parties have predicted that the annual surplus at the end of the financial year will be in the range of HK$25 billion to HK$40 billion.

On Saturday, Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen was confident the budget surplus estimate would be achieved. He said the government would share the wealth with the people when the economy was good, but gave no hints about the contents of his budget speech, to be delivered on February 28.

A government spokesman would not say if Mr Tang was ready to grant tax concessions. The revised estimates for the current financial year were being assessed and would be published along with the coming budget, the spokesman said. Records showed government spending totalled HK$151.4 billion in the first eight months, outstripping revenue of HK$147.8 billion received during that period.

But the HK$3.6 billion deficit by November had swung into a surplus the following month after revenue in December surpassed spending by more than HK$9.4 billion.

Revenue for April to December totalled HK$174.8 billion, compared to spending of HK$168.9 billion during the period.