* Spending to rise in 2011, but not as much as in 2009
* Pace of spending to slow despite impact of earthquake
* Government aiming for balanced budget in future (Updates with Finance Minister’s comments)
SANTIAGO, June 25 (Reuters) - Chilean public spending will rise under the country’s 2011 budget but the increase will be significantly lower than last year’s, Finance Minister Felipe Larrain said on Friday in a signal of austerity.
“There will be an increase in (2011) public spending which will be significantly less than that of last year,” Larrain told reporters.
“Last year public spending rose 17.8 percent in real terms. It will grow significantly less than that figure in 2011, despite the earthquake,” he added, referring to a massive Feb. 27 quake that hammered south-central Chile killing hundreds and disrupting industry.
Larrain said the government’s 2011 budget aimed to put the government on the path toward a balanced budget in the future.
Larrain said earlier this month Chile will run structural fiscal deficits through 2012, with the government hitting its target of a balanced budget only toward the end of its term in 2013.
The government of the world’s No.1 copper producer forecasts a structural fiscal deficit of 1.2 percent of gross domestic product this year as the country recovers from the quake. (Reporting by Antonio de la Jara. Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Diane Craft)