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Brazil to name new Treasury chief ahead of debt talks: source

[BRASILIA] Brazilian finance minister Henrique Meirelles will name the finance secretary of the state of Espirito Santos as the country's new Treasury chief, a senior government official familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Ana Paula Vescovi, an economist who worked for the finance ministry, will replace Otavio Ladeira and is expected to play a key role in talks aimed at easing the debt states have with the federal government in exchange for tougher rules to cap spending.

Those negotiations are set to start this week. It is not clear when Ms Vescovi will formally take office.

Since becoming finance minister earlier this month, Mr Meirelles has replaced key officials, bringing in economists with market experience and fiscal experts in a bid to rebalance the country's overdrawn public accounts.

Ms Vescovi has overseen the finances of Espirito Santos, one of the few states that has so far weathered a fiscal crisis that has forced local governments to delay payments to public workers and retirees.

The finance ministry did not answer emails seeking comments.

The state of Rio de Janeiro missed a debt payment to a French development bank last week, raising fears about the fiscal health of Brazilian states struggling with lower tax revenues due to a crippling recession and drop in oil prices.

Moody's Investors Service said on Monday the missed payment further presses the government to offer more "generous" relief to struggling states.

REUTERS