Carol Paton Editor at large

The parliamentary budget office, which provides independent advice to parliament’s finance and appropriations committee, said on Tuesday that it expects the Treasury to miss its fiscal consolidation target for the year, with a budget deficit of 4% of GDP. The estimate is in line with broader expectations with credit ratings agency Moody’s, for example, reporting last week that it expected a deficit of 4% against the Treasury’s estimate in February of 3.6%. The estimates come ahead of the tabling of the medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) on Wednesday, by new finance minister Tito Mboweni. Lower-than-expected economic growth is viewed as the key reason for the anticipated fiscal slippage. The office did not make a projection beyond next February. Moody’s has said that it expects the Treasury to bring the deficit down to 3.5% by 2021. Despite lower-than-anticipated growth for 2018 — most economists have penciled in a growth rate of between 0.7% and 0.9% against the Treasury’s ...

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