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UPDATE 1-Brazil economy minister eyes 5% GDP growth this year, budget surplus in 2023

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By Jamie McGeever and Gabriel Ponte

BRASILIA, May 25 (Reuters) – Brazil’s economy may grow by as much 5% this year, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said on Tuesday, adding that the government could eliminate its budget deficit and swing to surplus as early as 2023.

In an event hosted by bank BTG Pactual, Guedes struck a characteristically bullish tone, insisting that strong formal job growth, an expected acceleration in COVID-19 vaccinations and resumption of economic reforms in Congress will turn the cyclical economic rebound into sustainable growth.

“That is the big challenge ahead, and Brazil is showing that it will get there … growing 4.5% to 5% this year,” Guedes said.

The government’s official growth forecast for this year is 3.5%, but a string of upbeat economic indicators has recently prompted many private sector economists to raise their outlooks to 4% and higher.

Guedes said Brazil is close to creating 1 million formal jobs…

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