Ottawa says it remains on track to reduce the deficit as program spending falls in August.

The federal government says it recorded a $2.3 billion deficit in August, an improvement from the $3 billion shortfall it posted during the same month last year.

It says the key reason to the better monthly number was a $759-million decrease in program spending.

The Finance Department says the deficit for the first five months of the 2013-14 financial year as a whole now stands at $6.8 billion, slightly lower than the $7.2 billion posted for the same period last year.

The government revealed earlier this week that its deficit for the 2012-13 fiscal year had finalized at $18.9 billion, about $7 billion less than was predicted in the March budget.

Given the trend so far, Ottawa also appears in position to better its $18.7 billion deficit target for this fiscal year as well.