UPDATE 1-Brazil federal tax revenue hits January record

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By Marcela Ayres

BRASILIA, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Brazil’s federal tax take kicked off the year on a strong note, official figures showed on Thursday, with revenue surging to a January record of 175 billion reais ($40 billion).

That was more than the 167.1 billion reais expected in a Reuters poll of economists, and was up 4.7% in real terms from the same month of 2019, the federal tax service said.

Treasury Secretary Mansueto Almeida had told Reuters in an interview earlier this month that January’s figures would be “spectacular”, but could not pin the sharp increase on any particular factor.

The revenue service said on Thursday that January’s tax take was boosted by adjustments to corporate taxes on 2019 earnings.

Marco Antonio Cavalcanti, undersecretary of fiscal policy at the Economy Ministry, said that although atypical factors helped drive January’s figures, there are signs of economic recovery in the data too.

“We are confident that this recovery will continue throughout 2020,” he told reporters, citing the government’s economic reform agenda, measures to increase productivity and the broader commitment to fiscal discipline.

“The main risk for growth this year is from abroad, and that is beyond our control. But what is being done in terms of our homework makes us confident that positive domestic factors will drive growth,” he added.

Echoing recent comments from other Economy Ministry officials, Cavalcanti said there is still no reason to change the official forecast of 2.4% growth this year.

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