DUBLIN Jan 4 Ireland's Finance Ministry said on
Wednesday it expected its budget deficit to be around 0.9
percent in 2016, in line with the last official forecast in
October but weaker than Finance Minister Michael Noonan
suggested in comments last month.
"Budget 2017 forecast a General Government Deficit for 2016
of 0.9 percent of GDP. The exchequer figures for end-2016,
released today, support that forecast," the ministry said in a
statement. The 2015 deficit was 1.9 percent.
Noonan last month told journalists that the deficit could
fall as low as 0.7 or 0.8 percent if tax receipts were strong
enough, but December's tax returns published earlier on
Wednesday were weaker than forecast.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Alison Williams)