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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to issue fall economic update

OTTAWA, ON (NEWS1130) – Canadians can expect more clarity on the country’s economic affairs today as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty issues a mid-term fiscal report card.

The fall economic update is likely to show a modest deterioration in the government’s finances but isn’t expected to carry any major surprises.

A senior government source has said no new tax or spend measures are anticipated.

Last month, Flaherty said government revenues were lower than expected due to an average five per cent drop in the global price of the resource commodities Canada exports to the world.

TD Bank has calculated that revenues would be about $1.8 billion lower than projected this fiscal year, which ends March 31. That may lead to a modest short-term hit on Ottawa’s bottom line.

Flaherty may also build in a bigger margin for risk on his deficit projections given that he has described the global economic outlook as uncertain and risky.

That could delay — on paper at least — the government’s timeline for eliminating the deficit.

In the budget, Flaherty had pencilled a $21.1-billion shortfall this fiscal year, followed by deficits of $10.2 billion and $1.3 billion in the subsequent two years. The 2015-16 fiscal year would see a surplus for the first time in almost a decade.

Flaherty has said he still expects to meet his target for balancing the budget in the medium term, but hasn’t been specific about whether that would occur in the 2015-16 budget.

Today’s economic update will be released at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT in Ottawa and in Fredericton, where Flaherty will be speaking to the local chamber of commerce.