UPDATE 2-Brazil's Levy denies dispute over budget cuts, will stay in post

lunes 25 de mayo de 2015 13:57 GYT

(Adds comments from press conference with Levy and Mercadante)

BRASILIA May 25 (Reuters) - Brazilian Finance Minister Joaquim Levy on Monday denied any disagreements within the government over unpopular budget cuts and said he did not plan to leave his post.

Speculation of a rift between Levy and others in the government emerged on Friday when he unexpectedly missed the press conference to announce the spending cuts, a key part of the finance minister's austerity push.

Fears among investors that Levy could be losing the trust of President Dilma Rousseff contributed to a drop of more than 1 percent in the Brazilian real early on Monday. It later rebounded somewhat to trade down 0.5 percent.

The government said Levy missed last week's briefing because he had a cold, but local newspapers reported that he stayed away in protest of what he considered insufficient cuts.

Levy sought to quash the rumors on Monday, calling a press conference to announce redoubled efforts to pass austerity measures through Congress.

"There was no disagreement, nothing," he said alongside Aloizio Mercadante, Rousseff's influential chief of staff. "I really had a cold, or the flu."

Asked whether he had considered stepping down, Levy said: "I didn't think of quitting at all."

The former banking executive is considered key to Rousseff's effort to regain the trust of investors after years of heavy spending and interventionist policies that threatened Brazil's investment-grade rating.   Continuación...