MADRID (Reuters) -The Spanish government upped its budget deficit estimate for this year to 8.4% of gross domestic product from 7.7%, still an improvement on 2020’s 11-year high of 11%, after the economy shrank in the first quarter due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero also told a news conference on Friday the gap should further narrow in 2022 to 5% and then to 4% in 2023 as the fiscal situation is likely to improve with the pandemic ebbing.
“The deficit reduction is especially significant in 2022 because of two factors: the recovery of activity, and the end of the health emergency will mean a reduction of stimulus” measures, she said.
The country’s public debt should edge lower this year to 119.5% from 120% in 2020, and then gradually fall to 112.1% in 2024.
(Reporting by Inti Landauro, Belén Carreño and Nathan Allen, editing by Andrei Khalip)