U.S. Markets closed

Brazil's Meirelles says states to get 3-yr reprieve in debt deal

BRASILIA, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Brazil's Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said cash-strapped states that sign up for a debt relief deal will get three years to repay loans owed to the federal government and to private banks.

The terms will be included in a bill to be sent to Congress on Tuesday, Meirelles told Globo TV on Monday. The bill is vital for Rio de Janeiro state to overcome its fiscal crisis and will require states to freeze wage hikes for employees, while allowing them to privatize their banks, electrical utilities and sanitation companies.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)