ISTANBUL- Turkey ran a budget deficit of 8.76 billion TL ($5.5 billion) in March increasing the total deficit through Jan-March period to 19.1 billion TL ($12.1 billion), the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday. These figures are the latest in a series of macroeconomic indicators showing a steep deterioration in Turkey's economy during the credit crisis. (UPDATED)

According to the latest budget figures, a total of 21.8 billion Turkish lira, or TL, ($13.8 billion) of spending was recorded for March, while income reached 13.5 billion TL ($8.5 billion).

The primary deficit, which excludes interest payments on government debt, stood at 4.32 billion TL ($2.72 billion) in March compared with a deficit of 116.6 million TL ($74 million) in the same month last year.

The data reveals a budget deficit of 19.1 billion TL for the first three months of 2009, as total revenue reached 47.3 billion TL, and expenditure of 66.4 billion TL recorded in the same period.

Turkish Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said on Monday that the government expects its budget deficit to swell to $30 billion in 2009, revising its previous target of $6.6 billion.

The budget deficit is also estimated to fall to 39 billion TL next year and inch back up to 40 billion TL in 2011, Unakitan had also said.

Budgetary spending increased while revenue fell as the Turkish government unveiled a stimulus package in a bid to weather the severe impacts of global financial crisis on country's economy.

Turkey's once booming economy has slowed sharply with unemployment rising to an all-time high, prompting the government to cut tax rates for cars, household durables and home purchases in March.