Brazil’s August Annual Inflation Rate Lowest in Nine Months
Brazil’s consumer prices rose at the slowest annual pace in nine months, as the central bank signals it will extend the world’s biggest cycle of interest-rate increases.
Prices as measured by the benchmark IPCA index rose 0.24 percent last month, the national statistics agency said, in line with the median forecast of 0.25 percent from 40 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That helped cut the annual rate to 6.09 percent, the slowest since December.
Brazil’s government is seeking to contain inflation being pressured by the biggest slide among major currencies in the past three months even as it tries to stimulate investment and growth. As the U.S. Federal Reserve considers scaling back its monetary stimulus, investors are pulling out of emerging markets, putting pressure on currencies and other assets that have rallied since the 2008 global financial crisis.
The central bank last week raised its benchmark Selic rate to 9 percent, the third straight 50 basis-point increase. It also introduced a $60 billion plan to buoy the real to prevent a weaker currency from stoking inflation that twice this year breached the 6.5 percent upper ceiling of the government’s target range. The currency has slid 7.1 percent in the last three months, the worst performance of all major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
The government also lowered tariffs on selected imports and refused to yield to requests from Petroleo Brasileiro SA to raise gas prices to close a gap between what the state-run producer pays for imported oil and what it charges distributors.
Swap rates on the contract due in January 2015, the most traded in Sao Paulo today, fell 19 basis points to 10.28 percent at 9:40 a.m. local time. The real strengthened 1.35 percent to 2.2937 per dollar.
Food and beverage prices rose 0.01 percent in August after falling 0.33 percent in July, the statistics agency said. Transport prices declined .06 percent.
Economists increased their 12-month inflation forecast for the ninth straight week, to 6.12 percent, according to a central bank survey published on Sept 2. The bank targets inflation of 4.5 percent, plus or minus two percentage points.
Analysts forecast Latin America’s biggest economy will expand 2.3 percent this year and next after climbing 0.9 percent in 2012, its second-worst performance in 13 years.
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