UPDATE 1-Brazil's current account gap widens in January
(Adds comparative historical data, foreign investment flows)
BRASILIA Feb 24 (Reuters) - Brazil's current account deficit widened in January from the previous month to its second highest monthly mark on record as exports continue to dwindle, central bank data showed on Tuesday.
Brazil posted a current account gap of $10.654 billion in January, bellow market expectations for a deficit of $10.99 billion, but above the $10.317 billion record in December.
Brazil's external gap has widened sharply due to a drop in the value of crucial exports like iron ore and soybeans that pushed the trade balance into a deficit for the first time in 14 years in 2014.
The high current account and fiscal deficits are some of the main challenges for President Dilma Rousseff as she tries to recover the trust of investors in an attempt to get the economy out of a four-year slump.
Newly appointed Finance Minister Joaquim Levy said on Monday that the external deficit is not yet at "critical" levels because foreign investment continues to cover most of that gap.
In January, the country saw foreign direct investment inflows of $3.968 billion, above market expectations for $3.3 billion.
The central bank forecasts for the current account gap and FDI in 2015 are $83.5 billion and $65 billion, respectively. (Reporting by Alonso Soto and Luciana Otoni Editing by W Simon)
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