OTTAWA, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Canada recorded a much smaller budget deficit in the first eight months of fiscal 2021/22 compared to the same period a year ago, as the costs of the COVID-19 crisis continued to recede, the finance ministry said on Friday.

The April to November shortfall was C$73.70 billion ($57.75 billion) compared with a C$232.02 billion deficit over the same eight months in 2020/21, the data showed.

“As expected, the government’s 2021–22 financial results show a marked improvement compared to the peak of the COVID-19 crisis,” the finance ministry said. “That said, they continue to reflect challenging economic conditions.”

April-November revenues grew by 34.3%, led by higher tax revenues and other revenues. Program expenses fell 25.1%, largely on lower emergency transfers to individuals and businesses.

On a monthly basis, Canada posted a deficit of C$1.44 billion, compared to a C$15.40 billion deficit in November 2020.

($1 = 1.2763 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Julie Gordon, Editing by David Ljunggren; [email protected])