The United States posted a monthly budget deficit of $188 billion in March as the government spent more than twice what it took in last month, the Treasury Department reported on Tuesday.
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The Treasury said the cumulative deficit through the first half of fiscal 2011, which began Oct. 1, was a record $829 billion, about 16 percent higher than the prior year's $717 billion first half shortfall.
The monthly budget deficit was the second largest shortfall recorded in any March, outsized only by the $192 billion gap posted in March 2009.
The monthly shortfall was just shy of the $189 billion forecast of economists polled by Reuters.
(Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Neil Stempleman)
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