(Adds January-April data, last year’s figures and context)
BRASILIA, May 29 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government’s primary budget surplus rose sharply in April due to a surge in revenue from dividends and concession premiums, Treasury data showed on Thursday.
The central government’s primary surplus was 16.6 billion reais ($7.5 billion). That was more than double the 7.3 billion reais recorded in April 2013, and the third largest on record for the month of April.
The primary budget consists of revenue minus expenditures before interest payments on debt. It includes results from federal ministries, the central bank and the social security system. It had a deficit of 3.2 billion reais in March.
In the first four months of this year, the primary surplus rose to 29.7 billion reais, about 2 billion reais above the target set for the period.
The government’s primary surplus target for 2014 is 80.7 billion reais. Despite the widening surplus, many economists doubt the government of President Dilma Rousseff will be able to hit that target without resorting to alternative accounting rules or relying heavily on one-off items such as dividends.
The central government’s dividends from state-owned and state-controlled companies rose more than six-fold between January and April, compared with the same period a year earlier.
Brazil’s public finances have deteriorated under Rousseff as spending has grown and revenue has fallen, leading Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the country’s sovereign debt rating closer to junk status on Monday.
On Friday, the central bank is scheduled to release the country’s consolidated fiscal results, including figures from the central government, states and municipalities. The data is regarded as the benchmark for Brazil’s fiscal performance.
$1=2.2207 Brazilian reais Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jeb Blount and Peter Galloway