ROME (Reuters) - Italy posted a state sector deficit of 18.4 billion euros in March compared with a deficit of 22 billion euros in the same month last year, the Economy Ministry said on Tuesday.
In the first three months of the year the deficit was 31.7 billion euros, a narrowing of about five billion euros compared to the same period in 2013, the ministry said.
The state sector borrowing requirement (SSBR), a measure of the gap between central government spending and income, differs from the broader "general government" accounts, which the European Union Stability and Growth Pact refers to when assessing countries' deficit performances.
Official forecasts currently point to a general government deficit of 2.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2014, but Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has indicated the target could edge closer to the 3 percent European Union limit to fund tax cuts and growth measures.
The Economy Ministry said this month fewer payments were made to public administration, but that it had spent more on servicing debt.
It added that Value Added Tax had helped to increase tax receipts by 6 percent in March compared to the same month in 2013.
Reporting by Naomi O'Leary