US budget gap narrows as April posts surplus

The United States's yawning annual budget deficit narrowed in April as government coffers brimmed with the largest monthly surplus in five years, official data released Friday showed.

The federal budget had a surplus of $112.9 billion for the month of April, as tax payments surged ahead the mid-month due date for annual income tax filings for 2012, according to Treasury Department numbers.

The surplus was almost double the $59.1 billion surplus registered in April 2012.

Over the first seven months of the fiscal year, the US budget deficit was $487.6 billion, 32 percent smaller than the October-April 2012 period.

Revenues leaped 28 percent in April from a year ago, to $406.7 billion, helped in part by January 1 increases in payroll and other taxes.

Expenditures fell a hefty 13 percent to $293.8 billion in the second month of severe "sequester" spending cuts, aimed at slashing $85 billion through September.

"The improved budget deficit will give the Treasury more wiggle room to finance government programs should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling when the current suspension of this limit on government borrowing expires on May 19," said Sal Guatieri of BMO Capital Markets.