US budget deficit tops $1 trln for fourth straight year

WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The United States reported a budget surplus for the final month of the 2012 fiscal year, but the tiny bump in revenues did not prevent the country's deficit from exceeding $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row.

The 2012 budget gap was $1.089 trillion, smaller than last year's deficit of $1.297 trillion largely because of higher corporate income tax receipts and less spending, the Treasury Department said on Friday.

The September budget surplus of $75 billion, which topped analyst expectations for a surplus of $42 billion, marked only the second month in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 that the country was in the black.

The year-end budget report comes in the final weeks of the presidential campaign, where the massive budget gap and President Barack Obama's economic policies have dominated the debate.

The Obama administration spent $3.538 trillion in the 2012 fiscal year, 1.7 percent less than last year due to the expiration of stimulus provisions, a stronger economy, the end of military operations in Iraq and the continued drawdown in Afghanistan, the Treasury said.

Strong tax collections pushed receipts up to $2.449 trillion in 2012, up 6.4 percent from last year.

(Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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