Hong Kong's budget deficit in the first five months of the financial year stood at $60.2 billion, a rise of 7.5 per cent from the same period a year ago, but analysts say the increase is in line with the general trend. Latest official figures show the government spent $100.5 billion from April to August, outpacing revenue collection of $40.3 billion. The deficit amount is $3.8 billion higher than the $56 billion shortfall recorded in the same period last year. Reserves fell to $255.2 billion by the end of August, from $270.8 billion in July. Tim Lui Tim-leung, a PricewaterhouseCoopers tax partner, said the deficit increase was in line with his expectations and in accordance with the general trend because major types of revenue were not received until the end of the year. 'The figures are no cause for alarm. It looks like the deficit has worsened. But it's pretty much the same at this time every year.' Mr Lui also said the year-end deficit would be slightly higher than the government's forecast. 'The government spent quite a lot of money because of Sars. At one stage, many forecast the year-end deficit would reach $90 billion. But income from investment and stamp duty, especially on stock transactions, ... picked up significantly. These are positive [indications] that we will have an increase in revenue, but the deficit would still be a sizable figure,' he said. In April, former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung forecast a deficit of $68 billion this year, from $62 billion last year, but many expect it to hit $85 billion. Henry Tang Ying-yen, who took over as financial secretary in August, had pushed back the target of balancing the books by 2006-07 but has not announced a specific timetable.