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U.S. budget deficit down 37.6 percent through July

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government has reported a $97.6 billion deficit for July but remains on track to post its lowest annual budget gap in five years. July's figure raises the deficit so far for the 2013...

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government has reported a $97.6 billion deficit for July but remains on track to post its lowest annual budget gap in five years.

July's figure raises the deficit so far for the 2013 budget year to $607.4 billion, the government says. That's 37.6 percent below the $973.8 billion deficit for the first 10 months of the 2012 budget year.

The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the annual deficit will be $670 billion when the budget year ends Sept. 30, far below last year's $1.09 trillion. It would mark the first year that the gap between spending and revenue has been below $1 trillion since 2008.

Steady economic growth, higher taxes, lower government spending and increased dividends from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have helped shrink the deficit.

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