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Finance Minister Bill Morneau receives applause after his fall economic statement on Oct. 24, 2017.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The federal government ran a $2.6-billion deficit in August, according to new figures from Finance Canada that show revenues grew faster than new spending so far this year.

The monthly fiscal monitor report shows the cumulative deficit for the current fiscal year that started April 1 is $2.7-billion, which is down from $5.4-billion during the same five-month period one year earlier.

The deficit for August, 2017, is just slightly smaller than the $2.7-billion deficit posted in August, 2016.

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Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled his fall fiscal update on Tuesday, which reported that Ottawa now expects a deficit of $19.9-billion for the current 2017-18 fiscal year, instead of the $28.5-billion deficit that he forecasted in the March budget.

Last year's final deficit figure came in at $17.8-billion.

Friday's report shows revenues for the first five months of the year are up $6.3-billion, or 5.3 per cent, primarily due to higher tax revenues. Program expenses were up $4.2-billion, or 3.7 per cent, largely because of increased transfers to people – such as elderly benefits and the Canada Child Benefit – and other levels of government through health and social transfers and equalization.

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