France sees budget deficit over target in 2024 if nothing done, senator says

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PARIS (Reuters) -France's finance ministry expects the public sector budget deficit to overshoot its 2024 target by a wide margin if no corrective action is taken, a senator said on Thursday after consulting estimates from the ministry.

Senator Jean-Francois Husson told reporters that the 2023 public accounts, which are to be published on Tuesday, would show the 2023 budget deficit reached 5.6% of gross domestic product in 2023, well in excess of the government's 4.9% target.

So far the government had only indicated that the 2023 deficit would be "significantly" above its target.

After Les Echos newspaper reported on Thursday the 2023 fiscal shortfall would come in at 5.6%, Husson said he had used his rights as a senior member of the Senate's finance committee to seek clarification from the finance ministry.

It confirmed the 5.6% figure for 2023 and said that the deficit was expected at 5.7% of GDP in 2024 - well above its 4.4% target - in the absence of any corrective action, the conservative opposition senator said.

The estimates dated from February but did not take into account 10 billion euros ($10.9 billion) in budget cuts that Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has since flagged, Husson added.

($1 = 0.9208 euros)

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas, editing by GV De Clercq)