ROME (Reuters) - Italy's public budget deficit widened in the first nine months of the year to 3.7 percent of gross domestic product, compared with 3.4 percent in the same period of 2012, official statistics agency ISTAT said on Thursday.
The widening of the deficit was due to an increase in spending of 0.9 percent from the same period of 2012, which outweighed a 0.2 percent annual rise in revenues.
In the third quarter, the deficit amounted to 3.0 percent of GDP, up sharply from 1.4 percent in Q3 2012.
ISTAT also revised data for the second quarter to show a deficit of 0.9 percent instead of an originally reported 1.0 percent deficit.
Italy has an official target of a 2013 deficit of 3.0 percent of GDP, just in line with the European Union's 3 percent ceiling.
Total revenues fell 2.4 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, while total public spending increased 1.2 percent.
Debt servicing costs rose 0.4 percent annually in the third quarter but were down 4.5 percent in the first nine months of the year from the same period of 2012.
Direct taxes were down 4.0 percent in the third quarter, indirect taxes were down 2.7 percent and welfare contributions were down 1.7 percent.
The deficit measure published by ISTAT is very close to, but not fully comparable, with the deficit aggregate relevant to the EU's Growth and Stability Pact because ISTAT's data do not take into account the impact of debt servicing costs arising from government debt swap operations. The impact of these operations is normally minimal.