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SANTIAGO, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Chile's center-left government seeks to reduce the country's fiscal deficit to 1.9 percent of gross domestic product next year as a recovery in economic growth stokes a sharp increase in tax revenues, Finance Minister Nicolás Eyzaguirre said on Monday.
Eyzaguirre told a congressional finance committee that the GDP growth rate of Latin America's sixth-largest economy would double next year to 3.0 percent.
A recovery in the price of copper, Chile's main export, is helping President Michelle Bachelet's government shore up public finances in the final months of her administration.
Eyzaguirre, appointed in late August after his predecessor resigned, said the fiscal deficit would end this year at 2.7 percent of GDP - below the government's initial target of 3.1 percent.
"Everything points toward a sustained and systematic recovery not only in Chile...but in world trade," Eyzaguirre told the commission, presenting next year's budget.
Chile has long been one of Latin America's most fiscally sound countries, but the decline in copper-related revenues and spending under Bachelet has widened fiscal deficits and contributed to recent downgrades by credit rating agencies Fitch and S&P.
Eyzaguirre said a 7.5 percent rise in government revenues next year, thanks to greater economic growth, would help drive the reduction in the deficit.
Bachelet, who will step aside in March, surprised many analysts on Sunday when she announced a 3.9 percent hike in government spending in the 2018 budget, well above the 3.0 percent ceiling that the market had forecast.
Former President Sebastian Pinera, the front-runner in November's election to replace Bachelet, voiced concerns on Monday about the increase in spending and Chile's rising debt.
Bachelet said next year's budget expenditures would prioritize investments in infrastructure and education, key focuses of her government.
Lawmakers in Chile usually approve the proposed budgets sent by the executive branch. (Additional reporting by Antonio de la Jara; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and W Simon)