December 19, 2018 / 11:33 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's Congress passes 2019 federal budget with $257 bln spending

(Adds details, context)

BRASILIA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Congress approved the 2019 budget for the federal government on Wednesday, with total expenses of 3.382 trillion reais ($256.57 billion).

Of that, 758.7 billion reais in spending are related to financing public debt.

Brazil is struggling with a gaping public deficit coming off a deep recession, with many economists saying it must overhaul its pension system to shore up state finances.

President-elect Jair Bolsonaro’s government is expected to take up the issue soon after he assumes office on Jan. 1.

The budget lays out a vision for the 2019 economy with gross domestic product growth of 2.5 percent, inflation of 4.25 percent and a benchmark Selic interest rate of 8 percent, compared to 6.5 percent currently.

The target for the primary budget deficit related to fiscal and social security spending is 139 billion reais.

The bill now goes to President Michel Temer to be signed into law. ($1 = 3.8976 reais) (Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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