OTTAWA (CP) - The federal piggy bank is swelling with strong early revenues, as Ottawa's surplus so far is already larger than Finance Minister Ralph Goodale projected for the entire year.
Newly released figures show that in the first three months of fiscal 2005-06, Ottawa recorded a surplus of $4.8 billion - including a $1.7-billion surplus in June alone.
Ottawa's fiscal year runs from April 1 through March 31 of the following year.
In last February's budget, Goodale projected a surplus of $4 billion in the current fiscal year, all of which has been earmarked for rainy-day funds rather than spending or tax cuts.
It's too early to know exactly what the final year-end surplus will be, with nine more months of revenues and expenses yet to come in.
Still, Finance officials said budget revenues were already up by almost 12 per cent in the first three months of the current year.
Alberta Finance Minister Shirley McClellan had forecast a $1.52-billion surplus for fiscal 2005-06. Topped up with cash diverted into the province's long-term capital account, the surplus had been expected to top $3 billion.
However, the budget was based on private-sector commodity price forecasts of $42 US -- made before prices soared this summer.
With the price of a barrel of crude oil now hovering around the $65 US mark, The Globe used updated commodity price estimates from First Energy Capital Corp. and Peters & Co. Ltd. to crunch the number again.
The result suggests Alberta is set to collect close to $4 billion in extra oil and gas royalties this year.