WASHINGTON - The federal government ran a $69.6 billion budget deficit in July after posting an unrevised $59.7 billion deficit the previous month, the Treasury Department reported Friday.

The July deficit represents a 46% drop from the $129.4 billion gap in July 2011, and was much smaller than the median $103 billion deficit estimated by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

Outlays totaled $254.2 billion, a 12% decrease from the $288.4 billion in July 2011.

Receipts were $184.6 billion, a 16% bump from $159.1 billion a year ago.

For the fiscal year to date, the government's deficit is $974 billion. That is down $126 billion, or 11%, from the $1.1 trillion deficit through the same point in fiscal 2011.

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