WARSAW, May 15 (Reuters) - Poland's central budget deficit rose sharply in the first four months of the year, finance ministry data showed on Wednesday, making it more likely the government will have to revise its budget for the first time in four years.
A sharp slowdown in the economy, and weaker tax revenues, have left the assumptions contained in the 2013 budget looking out of step with reality.
By the end of April, the budget deficit had already reached 89 percent of the amount allocated for the whole year, much more than the level at the same point in previous years.
'The figures look very weak,' said Grzegorz Maliszewski, chief economist at Bank Millennium. 'A budget revision seems highly likely.'
A budget revision could be politically awkward for Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski, who has built a reputation for prudent financial stewardship. But economists say it is the pragmatic thing to do to bring the budget back into line with financial reality.
Rostowski said last week the government would not hesitate to revise the budget if there was a need and would take the decision after it receives data for the first half of the year.
It is usual for the deficit to rise quickly at the start of the year in Poland and then grow more slowly by year-end because of a lag in collecting tax revenue.
But the deficit was bigger than at the same point in previous years. In the corresponding period last year it was 71 percent of the annual target, and 54 percent in 2011.
Several assumptions on which the budget is based have proved, at least for the year to date, wide of the mark.
Annual gross domestic product growth in the first quarter was 0.4 percent, below the 2.2-percent envisaged in the budget. Inflation eased to 0.8 percent year-on-year in April, while the budget is based on a 2.7 percent average consumer price rise.
(editing by Ron Askew) Keywords: POLAND DEFICIT/
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