New Delhi: The country’s fiscal deficit was Rs1.17 trillion, or 87.7% of the full-year target of Rs1.33 trillion, in the first five months of 2008-09 as revenue growth slowed.

Total expenditure in April-August was Rs2.8 trillion, while receipts were Rs1.63 trillion, the government said on Tuesday. Tax collections slowed as rising interest rates and a global slowdown weighed on industrial production.

“Fiscal deficit looks huge. It is difficult to discern a systematic trend from monthly fiscal deficit numbers. Overall, the pressure will remain in the rest of the year on fiscal balances," said Shubhada Rao, chief economist at Yes Bank Ltd.

The government plans to cut the deficit to 2.5% of gross domestic product in 2008-09 from 2.8% in 2007-08.

A finance ministry official said April-September provisional direct tax receipts of Rs1.5 trillion were up 29.3% from a year earlier, slowing from annual growth of 38% growth for April-August and 46.9% for April-July.

Last week, the government said it would auction Rs39,000 crore of bonds between October and mid-December, meaning it would reach its 2008-09 gross market borrowing target in the third quarter.

The finance ministry did not detail any auctions beyond December, but analysts say the government would end up tapping the markets for more than the Rs1.45 trillion it had forecast in the budget.