November 16, 2016 / 7:33 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil finance minister says reforms will counter Trump effect

NEW YORK, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government needs to win approval of a series of budget reforms to protect the economy from global volatility stemming from the election of Donald Trump in the United States, Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said on Wednesday.

The reforms, which include a 20-year-long federal spending cap and a pension reform, will also help lower inflation back to the official target, Meirelles said at an event in New York.

“The more decisively we approve the reforms, the more decisively country risk will decline,” Meirelles said.

The budget reforms have a high chance of winning congressional approval, Meirelles said. The spending cap has already passed through the lower house of Congress, and the pension reform will be presented before year-end, President Michel Temer said last week.

“Before it was a policy of ‘spend more,’ and we now want markets and private investors to have a bigger role in the economy, even to allow for a better allocation of resources,” Meirelles told participants at an event sponsored by Banco Bradesco SA in New York.

Trump’s victory has sent shockwaves through emerging markets with currencies from Mexico to Brazil losing more than a 10th of their value and the price of local bonds plummeting.

Before any reforms are approved, Brazil risk premia will increase in the wake of Trump’s election, but market volatility complicates any further predictions, Meirelles said.

He noted that forecasts for next year’s economic growth could be revised down, but declined to give any numbers. The government currently estimates growth of 1.6 percent in 2017, following two years of a harsh recession.

A lack of decisive action to nudge Congress into approving broad spending cap legislation over the next few months could imperil President Michel Temer’s effort to pull Brazil out of the recession, company executives and bankers at the event in New York told Reuters. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal, writing by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Tom Brown)

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