Turkish budget deficit widens further after earthquakes
Turkey's national budget posted a deficit of 170.56 billion liras ($8.99 billion) in February, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday, showing the impact of the massive earthquakes that devastated the southeast of the country last month.
The primary balance, which does not include interest payments, showed a deficit of 136.34 billion lira, it said.
The government has taken measures to minimize the impact of the earthquake on the economy, such as deferring debt payments and providing wages and support money to earthquake victims.
Overall, the budget recorded a deficit of 202.8 billion lira in the January-February period, while the primary deficit was 147.2 billion lira, data showed. According to the latest figures, the budget deficit has already accounted for 30.8% of the total deficit expected for this year.
Last September, Ankara forecast a budget deficit of 3.5% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) this year. Although the budget deficit has widened in recent years, it stood at about 1% of GDP in 2022.
Economists believe that government spending on reconstruction and relief efforts could push the budget deficit to GDP ratio above 5% this year.
According to budget data, the Ministry of Finance transferred 5.6 billion lira in February for reconstruction costs in disaster-prone areas and distributed about 17.7 billion lira to families and businesses.