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Financial News: BRAZIL: Mid-March Inflation Slows And Misses Market Estima

BRAZIL: Mid-March Inflation Slows And Misses Market Estimates

03/23/2018 - 15:50:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Brazil's inflation slowed in the first half of March and came in lower than analysts expected, increasing the odds of a new interest rate cut by the country's central bank in May.

The Brazilian consumer price index rose by 0.10% by mid-March, after a 0.38% increase in February. It was the slowest inflation for the month since 2000 (+0.09%), said the country's statistics office (IBGE). Analysts expected a 0.13% rise.

The annual inflation rate by mid-March reached 2.80%, below the bottom of the Brazilian central bank's inflation target (3%). Analysts had forecast a 2.83% rate.

Two of the nine groups of products and services surveyed lost strength from February to March and presented deflation on a monthly basis: Food and Beverage (from +0.13% to -0.07%) and Communication (from +0.03% to -0.19%). Health and Personal Care prices climbed higher, rising from +0.34% to +0.54%.

Last week, the Brazilian central bank cut the country's benchmark interest rate (Selic) by 25 basis points to a record low level of 6.50% per year, and said that weak inflation might warrant a new decrease in its next meeting in May.

"For the next meeting, the committee views as appropriate, at this time, further moderate monetary flexibilization. The Committee judges that this additional stimulus reduces the risk of postponing the inflation convergence towards the target," said the central bank authorities in a statement.

"That vision for the next meeting might change and lead to an interruption of the current easing cycle if the risk reduction becomes unnecessary," they added.

Central bank authorities also pointed that they will probably refrain from changing the benchmark rate from the June meeting onward.

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