Brazil will boost levies on withdrawals abroad to restrain a widening current account deficit and prevent a six-percentage point gap in tax levels from reducing the use of credit cards.

The measure raises the so-called IOF tax on some operations, including the use of debit cards abroad, to the 6.38 percent rate already charged on credit cards, the Finance Ministry said in a statement Dec. 27. Boosting the rate from the previous 0.38 percent also will increase revenue by an estimated 552 million reais ($236 million) a year, according to the statement.

"This measure prevents one payment method from being undermined by others because of the tax structure," the ministry said on its website.

Brazilians have increased annual spending abroad by almost tenfold in the past decade to more than $23 billion in November, according to central bank data. The government raised the tax on credit cards in March 2011 as consumer spending outside the country helped widen a current account gap that surpassed $80 billion this year for the first time on record.

The real gained 0.7 percent to 2.3383 per dollar Dec. 27.

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