Brazil’s non-financial government sector saved US$ 6.223 billion (13.186 billion reais) in March. This was US$ 135 million (286 million reais) more than the US$ 6.087 billion (R$ 12.899 billion) the government had to pay in debt interest last month.
According to the head of the Brazilian Central Bank’s Economic Department, Altamir Lopes, who presented the bank’s monthly report on Fiscal Policy, today, April 26, this was the best primary surplus (what the government saves to pay interest on the debt) for March since 1991, when the historical series began to be compiled.
He said that Brazil’s central government (which includes the Central Bank and the National Social Security Institute – INSS) managed to save US$ 2.649 billion (5.614 billion reais), while the states and municipalities racked up savings of US$ 980 million (2.077 billion reais), and State enterprises contributed US$ 2.593 billion (5.494 billion reais).
For the first quarter (January-March) as a whole, the primary surplus amounted to US$ 9.901 billion (20.981 billion reais), which corresponds to 4.39% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the total of all wealth produced in the country.
This is less than the 6.32% achieved in the first quarter of 2005, but it is still higher than the 4.25% target the government set for this year, Lopes pointed out.
When the cumulative figures for the previous 12 months are considered, the primary surplus expanded from US$ 40.529 billion (85.881 billion reais) in February (4.37% of the GDP) to US$ 40.967 billion (86.809 billion reais) in March (4.39% of the GDP). According to Lopes, this upward trend should continue in the coming months.
He commented that this effort is imperative to ease the government’s need to obtain funds on the financial market, since its outlays so far this year to pay interest on the debt stand at US$ 20.847 billion (44.175 billion reais), more than double the primary surplus obtained in the first quarter; and that in the last 12 months debt interest payments have outstripped the primary surplus by US$ 36.149 billion (76.6 billion reais), which ties up 3.87% of the annual GDP.