U.S. budget deficit hits $144 billion, record for the month

The December deficit compares with a $13 billion deficit a year ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic started in the United States.

The U.S. government posted a December budget deficit of $144 billion - a record for the month - due to far higher outlays with coronavirus relief spending and unemployment benefits, while revenues ticked slightly higher, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

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US CONSUMER PRICES ROSE 0.4% IN DECEMBER

The Treasury said the December deficit compares with a $13 billion deficit in December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic started in the United States.

Receipts for the month rose 3% from a year earlier to $346 billion, while outlays were up 40% to $490 billion.

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December individual withheld income tax receipts were flat, while the Treasury registered increases in non-withheld income taxes and year-end corporate tax payments.

The cumulative U.S. deficit for the first three months of fiscal 2021, which started Oct. 1, reached $573 billion, up from $357 billion in the pre-pandemic year-earlier period.

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Receipts for the first three months of the fiscal year were largely flat at $803 billion, while outlays were up 18% at $1.376 trillion.

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Andrea Ricci