(RTTNews) - Estonia's budget deficit was nearly EEK 5.3 billion, which is 2.51% of the GDP, for the first five months of this year, the Finance Ministry said Thursday.

The deficit was in line with expectations as the beginning of the year traditionally records lower tax receipts. The ministry expects the deficit to stabilize in the second half of the year due to increase in revenue collection following higher tax revenue and dividends.

The government's total revenue by the end of June amounted to EEK 40.1 billion, of which EEK 29.9 billion was collected through taxes. Expenditure for the first half of the year totaled EEK 42.1 billion. During the six month period, the investments added up to EEK 3.2 billion, which was 39.1% of the planned expenditure.

From January next year, Estonia will join the euro currency bloc as the 17th member. Estonia's general government deficit fell to 1.7% of GDP, below the 3% EU threshold, in 2009 and the gross debt level stood at 7.2% of GDP.

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