(Adds biofuels measure moving forward in Congress)
BRASILIA Aug 6 Brazilian President Dilma
Rousseff said on Wednesday her government will be able to meet
its primary surplus goal for this year despite a string of
negative results from a slowing economy.
"The primary surplus does fluctuate from time to time. We
will be able to achieve the primary surplus target for this
year," Rousseff told reporters after discussing her policies
before Brazil's farm lobby, CNA.
The primary surplus, which represents the public sector's
excess revenue over expenditures before the payment of interest
on debt, fell well below expectations in the first half of the
year. Many analysts believe the government could revise down its
goal of a primary surplus equal to 1.9 percent of gross domestic
In the first six months of 2014, the primary surplus was
equal to 1.17 percent of GDP.
Rousseff also said she is considering more tax breaks for
ethanol producers struggling with rising costs and artificially
low fuel prices.
The Rousseff administration has kept fuel prices below
international levels in a bid to curb above-target inflation.
That policy has hurt the finances of state-run oil company
Petroleo Brasileiro, which is forced to buy fuel at
international prices and sell it cheaper.
Rousseff, a leftist economist who is running for re-election
in October, said her government and car makers are studying
whether to raise ethanol in the gasoline mix to 27.5 percent
from 25 percent.
The lower chamber of Congress passed a bill on Wednesday
that will allow the government to raise the obligatory mix to
27.5 percent, and raise the biofuel mix in diesel to 7 percent
as of Nov. 1, from 6 percent at present.
The increase sought by ethanol producers would help pull the
sector from its crisis by increasing demand. The auto industry,
however, has cautioned that a higher ethanol content in gasoline
could cause problems to motor vehicles.
(Reporting by Alonso Soto and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Lisa
Von Ahn and Leslie Adler)