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Portugal swings to 9-month public deficit of 5.2 bln euros amid pandemic

LISBON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Portugal swung to a public deficit of nearly 5.2 billion euros ($6.15 billion) in the first nine months of the year after a year-ago surplus of 2.6 billion due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the government said on Tuesday.

Total revenues dropped 6.9% and tax revenues fell 8.3% as a consequence of its worst economic slump in nearly a century, the finance ministry said in a statement, adding that spending rose 5.2%, stoked by subsidies paid to furloughed workers, the unemployed and those infected, among other factors.

Portugal, which has registered 124,432 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 2,371 deaths, is expected to suffer a 8.5% economic recession this year, after a growth of 2.2% in 2019.

The country’s budget deficit is expected to hit 7.3% of gross domestic product in 2020, after the country posted its first surplus in 45 years in 2019, of 0.1%. ($1 = 0.8461 euros) (Reporting by Patricia Rua, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Alison Williams)

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