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Italy public finances worsen in August as deficit keeps rising

ROME (Reuters) - Italy posted a state sector budget deficit of 9.2 billion euros in August, widening sharply from a 6.0 billion euro deficit in August last year, the Treasury said on Monday, continuing this year's trend of deteriorating public finances.

The cumulative deficit in the first eight months of the year amounted to around 60 billion euros, almost twice as large as the deficit posted in the first eight months of 2012.

The state sector borrowing requirement (SSBR), a measure of the gap between central government spending and income, differs from the broader "general government" accounts, which the European Union Stability and Growth Pact refers to when assessing countries' deficit performances.

Italy is targeting the 2013 general government deficit at 2.9 percent of gross domestic product, down marginally from last year's deficit of 3.0 percent, which was bang on the European Union's ceiling.

Enrico Letta's government last month announced that it was scrapping payments this year of an unpopular housing tax, known as IMU, and the European Commission said Italy must make sure it still keeps the deficit below 3 percent.

(Reporting By Gavin Jones)