UPDATE 1-Brazil to help banks bolster infrastructure financing-official

Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:20am EST

* Brazil seeks to diversify sources of long-term financing

* Aims to boost loans to infrastructure projects

* May provide funds or cut reserve requirements, papers say

By Tiago Pariz

BRASILIA, Feb 22 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government is considering measures to help private banks finance the massive infrastructure projects that are key to reviving Latin America's largest economy, Treasury chief Arno Augustin said on Friday.

Augustin said the government is seeking ways to diversify the sources of long-term financing, a segment historically dominated by state development bank BNDES through subsidized loans.

He didn't detail the steps that the government is considering, but mentioned lowering the reserve requirement for banks as an example that has been used in the past. Reducing reserve requirements would free up resources for banks to issue more loans.

President Dilma Rousseff's government is racing to finance about 250 billion reais ($127 billion) in road, port and rail projects to add momentum to an economy that has struggled to grow over the last two years.

Local newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported on Friday that Finance Minister Guido Mantega plans to announce the new funding options in New York next week as part of a road show for a wave of government concessions.

New funds for infrastructure investments could come from the lower reserve requirements, newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo reported on Friday, citing an unnamed member of the government's economic team.

A finance ministry spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports.

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