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Financial News: Australia Lowers Budget Deficit Projections

Australia Lowers Budget Deficit Projections

12/18/2017 - 02:45:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Australia's government downgraded its budget deficit projections on higher corporate tax, while weak wage growth is forecast to weigh on income tax.

The budget deficit for the fiscal year to June 2018 is seen at A$23.6 billion compared to the previous estimate of A$29.4 billion, Treasurer Scott Morrison said in his mid-year economic and fiscal outlook.

The deficit for the next fiscal year was lowered to A$20.5 billion from A$21.4 billion.

The budget balance is forecast to return to surplus in 2021 as previously projected. Morrison forecast a surplus of A$10.2 billion or 0.5 percent of GDP in 2020-21.

Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said his less optimistic view on GDP is another reason to think that a surplus won't be achieved in 2020/21. By then, the deficit may still be A$10 billion and the triple A credit rating may be looking shaky again.

Company tax forecasts were revised upwards citing stronger-than-expected collections and increased company profitability. Meanwhile, lower forecasts for wages and unincorporated business income are forecast to weigh on individuals' income tax receipts, the treasurer said.

Net debt is expected to stabilize over the forward estimates, peaking at 19.2 percent of GDP in 2018-19, down from the budget estimate of 19.8 percent, the government noted.

It is expected to fall to 17.2 percent of GDP in 2020-21, or A$10.9 billion less than was estimated at the 2017-18 budget.

At the same time, real GDP is forecast to grow 2.5 percent in 2017-18 and 3 percent in 2018-19, compared to 2.0 percent achieved in 2016-17.

The wage price index is expected to climb 2.25 percent in 2017-18 and 2.75 percent in 2018-19.

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