Brazil’s Benign Inflation Sets Steady Course For Interest Rates

Jeff Fick-The Wall Street Journal, 12/09/09

Brazil’s inflation rate should end 2009 below the government’s official target, likely allowing central bankers to keep interest rates at current lows to start the new year.

The official IPCA consumer price index rose for a third-consecutive month, gaining 0.41% in November compared with the 0.28% advance registered in October, the Brazilian Census Bureau, or IBGE, said Wednesday. The November data was slightly above market expectations.

The widely watched rolling 12-month rate also advanced in November, but remained below the government’s official target of 4.5%. The rolling 12-month rate was 4.22% in November, up from 4.17% for the 12-months through October.

“The IPCA in November points toward a final index reading of 4.35% for 2009, which would be below the target,” said Flavio Serrano, economist at Sao Paulo investment fund BES Investimento.

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