Brazil national debt to peak lower and earlier than forecast, says Treasury

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The outlook for Brazil's public finances in the coming years is brightening, according to revised Treasury forecasts on Tuesday, with the national debt expected to peak earlier and at a lower level than previously envisaged only two months ago.

Brazil's gross public debt is now expected to peak next year at 78.2% of gross domestic product rather than 81.8% of GDP in 2022, Treasury said in a report.

The Treasury's base case scenario puts the gross national debt falling to 67.3% of GDP by 2028.

If accurate, Brazil's national debt is no longer on track to exceed the 80% of GDP threshold that many analysts said had looked inevitable when it hit a record 79.7% of GDP in August this year.

The government has made reining in public spending and bringing down the deficit a major plank of its economic agenda. Together with increased revenue from privatizations, assets sales, and loan repayments from national development bank BNDES, the fiscal picture is gradually improving.

The primary budget deficit, which excludes interest payments, is on track to end the year around 60 billion to 80 billion reais, Treasury Secretary Mansueto Almeida said last week, well below the government's goal of 132 billion reais ($32 billion).

Brazil's net public debt, currently 55.9% of GDP, is expected to peak at 61.4% of GDP in 2023, Treasury said on Tuesday, compared with a peak of 64.8% of GDP in 2024 forecast in October.