Rousseff Dismisses Reports Brazil Two Top Economic Aides at Odds

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff dismissed reports her two top economic aides, ministers Joaquim Levy and Nelson Barbosa, are at odds over economic policy.

“I think people are trying to create a conflict that doesn’t exist,” Rousseff told reporters in Mexico City Wednesday. “Since they became ministers there hasn’t been conflict between them.”

Finance Minister Levy last week skipped a press conference in which Budget Minister Barbosa announced a 69.9 billion reais ($22.1 billion) spending freeze. Levy had advocated a cut of at least 75 billion reais, a government official with knowledge of the negotiations said before Barbosa made the announcement.

Levy also doesn’t expect the economy to recover before 2016, in contrast to Barbosa’s more optimistic forecast of a comeback in the second half of this year, said a government official with knowledge of the finance minister’s view.

Levy said he didn’t attend the press conference with Barbosa because he had a cold.

Rousseff said she was “very pleased” with congressional approval Tuesday night of a bill that cuts an estimated 5 billion reais this year by making it harder to access jobless insurance.

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