BRASILIA (Reuters) - The Brazilian government expects to sign late next week a deal to ease the debt burden of the cash-strapped state of Rio de Janeiro in exchange for the implementation of austerity measures, Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said on Wednesday.

After meeting with Rio de Janeiro governor Fernando Pezao and the head of state-run bank Banco do Brasil <BBAS3.SA>, Paulo Caffarelli, Meirelles said the government would not give the state new loans but that banks could do so.

(Reporting by Marcela Ayres; Writing by Alonso Soto)

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