SAO PAULO —
Brazil's Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles insisted on Monday that he is not planning to run for president and told a business meeting he could consider being a vice presidential running mate.
But he later told reporters that it was just a joke and he was too busy working on the recovery of the Brazilian economy as minister to consider the presidential race next October.
Meirelles, whose political fortunes are expected to rise as the Brazilian economy recovers from its worst recession, said he had been asked to be a vice presidential candidate in 2010 and 2014 and found the position "interesting."
Meirelles said he expected Brazil's GDP to grow at least 2 percent next year and the strengthening economy had created more than 1 million jobs so far this year.
Inflation slowing to below bottom-end of the official target range will allow the central bank room to cut interest rates further, Meirelles added.
If Brazil's Congress fails to approve the reform of the pension system proposed by the government, the task will be the first challenge of the next president who will take office Jan 1, 2019.