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LatinNews Regional Monitor: Brazil & Southern Cone - 30 January 2019

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In brief: Brazil

* Brazil’s central government posted a primary deficit of R$120.3bn (US$32.3bn) last year, equivalent to 1.7% of GDP, and a 3.2% decrease on the 2017 primary deficit of R$124.4bn. The primary deficit is due to the widening social security deficit, which increased to R$195.2bn (US$52.5bn) up from R$182.4bn in 2017. The social security system includes spending on private sector retirement pensions. This deficit was partly offset by a R$77bn (US$20.7bn) surplus in the national treasury and the central bank. The secretary for the national treasury, Mansueto Almeida, repeated calls for an urgent pension reform, without which fiscal adjustment will be impossible, he said.