VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has registered one of its worst budget deficits in years, plunging back into the red with a €15 million ($19 million) deficit in 2011 after a brief respite of profit.
The Vatican on Thursday blamed the poor outcome on high personnel and communications costs and adverse market conditions, particularly for its real estate holdings.
Not even a €50 million gift to the pope from the Vatican bank and increased donations from dioceses and religious orders could offset the expenses and poor investment returns, the Vatican said in its annual financial report.
The Vatican said it ran a €14.9 million deficit in 2011 after posting a surplus of €9.85 million in 2010. The 2010 surplus, however, was something of an anomaly. In 2009 the Vatican ran a deficit of €4.01 million, in 2008 the deficit was €0.9 million and in 2007 it was nearly €9.1 million.
The Vatican city state, which mainly manages the Vatican Museums and is a separate and autonomous administration, managed a budget surplus of €21.8 million. That’s largely due to a spike in revenue from the museums: More than five million people visited the Sistine Chapel and other works of art in the Vatican museums last year, bringing in €91.3 million in 2011 compared to €82.4 million a year earlier.
The Vatican bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works, is able to make such a big contribution to the Vatican’s budget each year based on investments.