BRASILIA, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Brazil lowered its 2014 primary budget surplus target to 1.9 percent of GDP from 2.3 percent last year in a move to convince markets that it can meet the elusive fiscal savings goal, the government announced on Thursday.
President Dilma Rousseffs government will freeze 44 billion reais ($18.44 billion) in budgeted public spending to meet the fiscal target. The primary surplus, or excess revenue after expenditures and before debt payments, is a key gauge of a country's capacity to repay debt.
A realistic and transparent primary surplus goal is crucial for Rousseff's to regain the confidence of investors as she struggles to draw more foreign investment to revive an economy that has slowed to a crawl since she took office in 2011. ($1 = 2.3866 reais) (Reporting by Luciana Otoni; Writing by Alonso Soto)