(Adds Mantega's comment on bill)
BRASILIA, April 2 The Brazilian government has
asked lawmakers to delay an impending vote on a bill that would
threaten the country's fiscal-savings targets by allowing states
to borrow more, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on
"We are asking for a vote on the bill to be delayed,"
Mantega said in an interview with Brazilian radio. He said the
government would move to postpone a vote on other bills that
also threaten the target.
The bill, which would retroactively lower the interest paid
on states' debt with the federal government, could be submitted
to a vote in Brazil's Senate in the coming days, the newspaper
Valor Econômico reported on Wednesday, citing lawmakers.
The prospect of states taking advantage of lower rates to
borrow more have worried investors, who have been closely
monitoring the deterioration in Brazil's fiscal performance.
The rapid erosion of the country's finances led Standard &
Poor's to lower Brazil's debt rating closer to junk status last
Mantega also said a recent pick-up in food prices due to a
prolonged drought should be temporary. Higher food-price
inflation is expected to prompt the central bank to raise
interest rates for a ninth time later on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Walter Brandimarte and Alonso Soto; Editing by
Chizu Nomiyama and Bernadette Baum)