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Mexican Senate approves part of budget, raising funds for quake recovery

The Mexican Senate on Thursday approved part of the country’s budget for 2018, raising the assumptions for oil prices and the exchange rate, a move that will help increase fund allocations for reconstruction after two devastating earthquakes last month.

The legislators agreed to raise oil price assumptions in the fiscal plan to $48.50 per barrel from $46, and the exchange rate to 18.4 pesos per dollar from 18.1, a legislative source said.

The changes added 43.29 billion pesos ($2.25 billion) to the total budget, the source said, increasing the funds that would be available for post-quake reconstruction.

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The lower house of Congress, which previously agreed to the plan, must finalize the budget by Nov. 15.

The cost of reconstructing areas affected by the quakes, which killed 471 people in central and southeastern states, will approach 48 billion pesos, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said.

Reporting by Miguel Gutierrez; Writing by Julia Love; Editing by Tom Hogue