US Budget Deficit Soars 77% As Federal Interest Expense Hits Record High

Another month, another frightening jump in the US budget deficit.

According to the latest Treasury data, the US budget surplus in January - traditionally one of the few surplus months of the year due to its tax receipts timing - was only $9 billion, badly missing the $25 billion surplus expected, and far below the $49 billion surplus recorded last January; it was the smallest January gain since 2015.

As a result, the budget deficit for the first four months of the fiscal year, widened to $310 billion, a whopping 77% higher than the $175.7 billion reported for the same period last year, largely the result of the revenue hit from Trump's tax cuts and the increase in government spending. The deficit was the result of a 2% drop in fiscal YTD receipts to $1.1 trillion, while spending jumped 9% to $1.4 trillion.

(Click on image to enlarge)

The jump in the deficit was despite the bump in customs duties, which almost doubled to about $24.5 billion this fiscal year from $12.6 billion a year ago, reflecting the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese imports.

What was more concerning perhaps is that rolling 12-month receipts declined 1.5% Y/Y, after posting a 0.4% drop last month which marked the first decline since March 2017. Worse, the absolute drop in tax receipts, which declined for both corporations and individuals, was the biggest since the financial crisis; and, as shown in the chart below, every time that receipts have posted an annual decline, a recession either followed shortly or had already arrived.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Unfortunately, since receipts are set to decline even more in the coming months, the overall budget deficit is set to widen further in the coming years as the Republican tax cut package and increased spending for defense and other priorities boost government outlays. Some policymakers and economists are flagging concern about the growing debt burden, saying it risks America’s credit quality among borrowers, while other economists see more room to run.

1 2
View single page >> |
How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience. Users' ratings are only visible to themselves.

Comments

Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.