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US budget deficit for December up 52% to $129 billion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. federal government posted a December deficit of $129 billion, up $44 billion or 52% from a year earlier as outlays rose while receipts fell from December 2022 levels that were swelled by pandemic-deferred tax payments, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday.

The Treasury said that outlays for December rose 3% to $559 billion, a December record, partly as a result of higher Social Security outlays and interest on the public debt. Receipts for the month fell 6% to $429 billion.

For the first three months of the 2024 fiscal year that started Oct. 1, the federal deficit reached $510 billion, up $89 billion, or 21% from the year ago period.

A Treasury official said that both year-to-date outlays and receipts were records. Outlays rose 12% to $1.618 trillion, while receipts rose 8% to $1.108 trillion.

Public debt interest costs for December rose to $119 billion, up 11% or $12 billion from December 2022, due to higher debt levels and a higher weighted average interest rate of 3.11%. This rate was three quarters of a point higher than a year earlier.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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