By Benjamin Parkin and Paulo Trevisani
RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazilian economic officials on Monday reinforced calls for fiscal discipline to rekindle the country's troubled economy, as the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president added uncertainty to emerging markets.
Speaking at separate events, Brazil's central bank president, Ilan Goldfajn, and Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said that plugging a widening budget hole is key to restoring confidence, taming inflation and getting Latin America's largest economy out of its worst recession on record.
"Increasing inflation to finance public spending is no longer an option, " Mr. Goldfajn told business leaders gatheredin Rio de Janeiro. "Laws of fiscal adjustments are necessary."
Brazil's Congress is considering public-spending limits for at least the next 10 years. A final vote in the Senate is expected next month. Other potentially controversial measures, including changes to Brazil's generous retirement system, are expected for next year.
The measure represents a U-turn for a government that is used to expanding its costs faster than inflation for more than a decade and is facing headwinds among voters. The administration of President Michel Temer, who took over in August after former President Dilma Rousseff was ousted for alleged budget crimes, is trying to appease austerity critics by arguing it is the only way to resume growth.
"Fixing public-accounts deterioration is a prerequisite for the economy to grow again," Mr. Meirelles told business leaders in Brasília.
Brazil's economy is forecast to contract 3.4% this year, accordingto a central-bank survey of economists released earlier Monday.
The central bank last month cut its benchmark Selic rate to 14% from 14.25%, the first rate cut in four years, as prices weakened and the two-year recession showed no signs of relief.
Consumer prices rose at a 7.9% annual pace in October, well above the official 4.5% target.
Analysts expect another rate cut on Nov. 30, but that prospect has been shaken by Mr. Trump's election. Among other things, economists say that if the new U.S. administration pushes for economic stimulus, as promised during the campaign, that could lead to higher borrowing costs in the U.S., which could slow down the pace of monetary easing in Brazil.
"The result of the American election is another element of uncertainty," Mr. Goldfajn said.
Priscilla Oliveira contributed in this article
Write to Paulo Trevisani at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 21, 2016 12:06 ET (17:06 GMT)
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