General government cash surplus at €1.5bn in January ‘13

MoF data show that general government (gg) primary cash balance recorded a surplus of €1,784m in January ’13 from €2,474m in January ’12 down 27.9% y-o-y. According to MoF, reported figure is on a non consolidated basis and consolidated primary balance is expected to be smaller by €825m.

Furthermore, general government cash surplus narrowed by 23.5% y-o-y to €1,525m in January ’13 from €1,993m last year. Note that all individual sectors recorded a surplus in both periods.

Current period data incorporate:

  • A drop of state budget surplus by 7.1% y-o-y to €613m in January ’13 from €660m last year with primary surplus slipping 23.8% to €851m from €1,117m in Jan ‘12.
  • Extrabudgetary funds’ (i.e. legal entities) surplus of €42m down by €4m from last year’s figure of €46m.
  • Local governments’ surplus of €313m, down 15.6% y-o-y.
  • Social security funds’ surplus of €559m down 39.0% from last year’s surplus of €917m.

MoF also disclosed the general government arrears (> 90 days), including tax refunds, which dropped for third consecutive month by €204m or 2.3% m-o-m to €8,564m at the end of January ’13. It is reminded that arrears had peaked to €9,545m in October easing thereafter to €9,467m in November and €8,769m in December.

The bulk of general government arrears stems from social security funds (€4.46bn – 52% of total) and hospitals (€1.89bn – 22%), while local authorities’ arrears stand at €0.85bn (9.9%), state budget arrears at €0.49bn (5.8%), tax refunds at €0.64bn (7.5%) and other legal entities’ arrears at €0.24bn (2.8%).

It is pointed out that MoF had stated at the end of February that requests for state arrears (to the private sector) of €2.3bn (€1bn in January and €1.3bn in February) had been settled in the first two months of 2013. Furthermore, current pending arrears’ requests stand at €1.4bn and are expected to be settled by the end of March, bringing the total amount to €3.7bn in Q1’13, in line with MTFS target.

It is also noteworthy that, along with January gg figures, MoF announced for the first time 2012 gg provisional ESA95 data with gg deficit amounting to €12,509m or 6.4% of GDP lower than the previously targeted €12,882m or 6.6% of GDP, while the target for 2013 is set at €8,005m or 4.4% of GDP.

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