(Adds quote, details, context on ethanol industry)
SAO PAULO, April 28 (Reuters) - Brazil’s economy will post steady growth in 2014, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Monday, as the country takes advantage of an improving global economic outlook.
Brazil’s economy should grow 2.3 percent this year, Mantega said at an event in Sao Paulo, the same growth rate it posted in 2013.
The number is more optimistic than the median 1.65 growth estimate in a central bank poll of economists released Monday. In February Brazil’s government said it was working with a growth estimate of 2.5 percent for the year.
Mantega said Brazil is “prepared for the current global economic rebound,” and that he sees emerging economies growing faster than the majority of developed economies.
He said inflationary pressure would persist in April but that inflation, currently at 6.15 percent, would be at its lowest in May and June.
Responding to a question about the country’s troubled ethanol industry, Mantega said, “We cannot raise prices just to benefit the sector,” pointing to a number of financing privileges enjoyed by cane growers.
Mantega, who is also chairman of the board of state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, has prevented Petrobras, as the company is known, from raising gasoline and diesel prices in line with world prices.
As a result, ethanol has become a more expensive fuel option than gasoline in most of Brazil. It also helped lead the government to temporarily cut the legal amount of ethanol in gas blends, further hurting demand for the sugar-cane-based fuel. (Reporting by Renan Fagalde; Writing by Asher Levine; Editing by James Dalgleish)