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08/11/2013 | Brazil's annual inflation eases, but food prices jump

Reuters Staff

Brazil's annual inflation eased only slightly in October, while a surge in food prices suggested stubborn price pressures would keep inflation still close to the government's target ceiling.

 

Brazil's benchmark IPCA consumer price index rose 5.84 percent in the 12 months through October, nearly unchanged from its 5.87 percent 12-month advance through September, statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday.

The central bank targets inflation at 4.5 percent, with a tolerance margin of 2 percentage points. It was the fourth consecutive month of decline in the annual inflation rate after inflation peaked at 6.70 percent in June.

On a monthly basis, the IPCA index rose 0.57 percent, up from 0.35 percent in the prior month and close to the 0.60 percent median forecast of 31 economists.

Food prices jumped 1.03 percent from September, the most since March. Tomatoes, which symbolized a surge in food costs that pushed inflation above the government's target earlier this year, got 18.65 percent more expensive last month. Poultry and beef prices also rose more than 3 percent.

Stubborn inflation has dented the credibility of Brazil's central bank over the past few years and undermined business and investor confidence. Policymakers have responded with five interest rate increases so far this year and are widely expected to take the benchmark rate to 10 percent this month.

While strong household demand is partly to blame for the price increases, economists say inflation has also been caused by logistical bottlenecks and other inefficiencies that require reforms, not just higher interest rates.

Despite the aggressive cycle of rate increases, inflation is expected to stay above the target midpoint of 4.5 percent through at least the end of 2015, according to a weekly central bank poll.

(Reporting by Felipe Pontes and Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Brad Haynes and Silvio Cascione Editing by W Simon)

Reuters (Estados Unidos)

 



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