(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s tax collection lost steam according to official data published Tuesday, an ominous sign for government efforts to hit a budget target that’s closely watched by investors.

Latin America’s largest economy hauled in nearly 191 billion reais ($37.2 billion) in tax revenues, expanding 7.22% in real terms when compared to March 2023, the Finance Ministry reported. Despite being a record for this time of year, collection growth slowed from the 12.3% rate seen in February. 

Furthermore, 15.3 billion reais in total income received between January and March were from one-time payments, the government said.

Brazil investors are eager for signs that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will rein in spending and limit deficits. In a gesture to financial markets, officials in 2023 set a goal of eliminating this year’s primary fiscal deficit, which excludes interest payments. Still, the government is now pressuring for more layouts as the economy slows and also said it will weaken a key fiscal target for 2025.

“March’s tax collection was somewhat disappointing,” Caio Megale, chief economist at XP Investimentos, wrote in a note. “This increase is below what would be needed for the government to reach the primary result target—approximately 13.5% in real terms, according to our estimates.”

Read more: Brazil Weakens Key 2025 Budget Target as Spending Rises 

A further expansion in public spending could be on tap. Lula told reporters on Tuesday that he asked Finance Minister Fernando Haddad for financing for a program that helps families renovate their homes.

“I’m not driven by the market. I am moved by the Brazilian people,” Lula said. “We are going to announce more things. We need a financing policy for home renovations. Money needs to circulate.” 

Last month, the economic team said it will likely will finish the year with a primary deficit of 9.3 billion reais ($1.9 billion), or 0.1% of gross domestic product — below the 0.25% maximum gap in spending rules. Economists surveyed by the central bank project gaps 0.7% of GDP this year and 0.6% for 2025.

Government officials played down signs that tax income is waning after a strong start to 2024.

“Tax collection performance will always have some points that may be seasonal, but we need to wait and see if there is indeed a slowdown,” said Claudemir Malaquias, the head of the Finance Ministry’s center for tax studies. “Perhaps in May we will have a more complete view of 2024.”

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