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UPDATE 5-Top banker won't be Brazil's finance minister -official
November 20, 2014 / 3:57 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 5-Top banker won't be Brazil's finance minister -official

(New throughout, adds Rousseff and analyst comments and context)

By Alonso Soto and Brian Winter

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Brazilian bank Bradesco SA will not be the country’s next finance minister, a government official said on Thursday, after two local newspapers reported he turned down the job in a major setback for recently re-elected President Dilma Rousseff.

Luiz Carlos Trabuco is out of the running for the post, the official said on condition of anonymity. The official declined to confirm or deny that Trabuco had been offered the job.

Since Rousseff won a runoff vote on Oct. 26, she has yet to name a new finance minister for her second term. Brazil’s economy is struggling with slow growth, high inflation and fallout from a growing corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Trabuco, the CEO of the country’s second-largest private bank, was seen as a relatively market-friendly name who could have rebuilt ties with the private sector after years of frustration with Rousseff’s leftist, interventionist policies.

Two Brazilian newspapers reported on Thursday that Trabuco was likely to turn down the invitation made by Rousseff due to his commitments with the bank.

Rousseff on Thursday dismissed reports that she had offered the job to Trabuco, but did not deny that she had made an offer.

“I never confirmed anything. You guys always get it wrong,” Rousseff told local news agency Broadcast.

Rousseff is again considering central bank chief Alexandre Tombini and former deputy finance minister Nelson Barbosa to the job, Folha de Sao Paulo reported citing a source close to the president.

Both economists are close Rousseff aides and would represent a continuation of the leftist policies blamed for pushing Brazil into recession this year, analysts say.

Joaquim Levy, the head of Bradesco’s investment arm, Bradesco Asset Management, has joined the race for the ministry, a government official told Reuters. Levy is a former Treasury chief who is respected by the market.

A spokesman for the president said earlier that there would be no announcement of a new finance minister on Thursday because Rousseff would attend the funeral of a former justice minister.

Brazil share prices rose this week on speculation that Rousseff would appoint Trabuco, 63, one of the few bankers who gets along with the president. Shares did not trade on Thursday due to a holiday in Sao Paulo.

During her re-election campaign, she lambasted rivals for having links to what she called greedy bankers who wanted to manage the economy for their benefit. (Additional reporting by Luciana Otoni; Editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio)

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