Brazil posts primary surplus of 3.5 bln reais in March

BRASILIA, April 30 Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:35am EDT

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BRASILIA, April 30 (Reuters) - Brazil posted a primary budget surplus of $3.5 billion reais ($1.75 billion) in March , recovering after a deficit in February, but still well below the surplus scored a year ago, according to central bank data released on Tuesday.

The primary budget balance, which represents the public sector's excess revenue over expenditures before debt payments, was expected to reach a surplus of 5.6 billion reais according to the median forecast of 11 analysts surveyed by Reuters.

The primary balance is a gauge closely watched by investors because it measures a country's ability to service its debt. The government missed its primary surplus target in 2012 and is likely to miss it again this year as a slew of tax breaks aimed at reviving the economy hits revenues.

The country posted a nominal budget deficit of 15.85 billion reais in March.