RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s federal, state and local governments ended 2014 with a cumulative primary budget deficit equivalent to $12.51 billion, putting public finances in the red for the first time since the current reporting methodology was adopted in 2001, the Central Bank said Friday.
The South American country posted a primary budget surplus – excluding debt service payments – of $35.12 billion in 2013.
Last year’s deficit is equal to 0.63 percent of Brazil’s gross domestic product.
The primary budget deficit or surplus is the reference employed in Brazil to gauge the health of public finances.
Latin America’s largest economy paid $119.77 billion in debt service last year, which brings the nominal 2014 deficit to a record $132.27 billion.
The nominal deficit is equivalent to 6.7 percent of GDP, one of the worst ratios among major economies.
The government of President Dilma Rousseff, which projected a primary surplus of $3.88 billion in 2014, was forced to amend the budget law late last year when it became obvious that the target would not be met.