The federal government's fiscal position continues to improve in the face of what appears to be a slowing economy and growing global risks.
The Finance Department said Friday that October's deficit was $2.2 billion, only about half its deficit in the same month last year.
The improvement was due to a $1.4-billion gain in tax revenues, 8.1 per cent higher than last October, and a $600-million decline in expenses, 3.2 per cent lower than 12 months ago.
Coincidentally, Statistics Canada reported Friday that Canada's economy was mostly flat in October, ending four consecutive months of healthy expansion.
The latest calculations puts Ottawa well on pace to improve on last year's $33.4-billion deficit, as well as the $31-billion shortfall projected in November's economic update for this fiscal year, which ends March 31.
For the first seven months of the current period, Ottawa's deficit has reached $15.4 billion, $6.1 billion less than for the corresponding period last year.
From April through October, tax revenues rose by $5.7 billion, or 4.5 per cent, as higher personal income tax receipts offset lower GST revenues. Revenues from corporate taxes were up $1.5 billion.
Meanwhile, government outlays for such things as transfers to persons and other expenses fell by $1 billion, or 0.8 per cent, for the corresponding period.
Charges for servicing the national debt were about $600 million higher cumulative in the first seven months of the 2011-12 year than last year at the same point.