Brazil’s government began its new fiscal year with a hefty primary budget surplus in January, the Central Bank said Friday. The R$36.7 billion surplus was well in advance of the January 2016 figure of R$27.9 billion. On a 12-month basis, the government was still running a primary deficit of R$147 billion, but that was down from a 12-month figure of R$155.8 billion as of December. Brazil’s goal this year is a primary deficit of no more than R$154.3 billion. The 2016 goal was a deficit of no more than R$170.4 billion. Officials are hopeful about this year’s fiscal performance following a period of cost cutting. In addition, a modest economic recovery should help boost tax revenues. Revenues were depressed in 2016 by a lingering recession.
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