Brazilian economists raised their inflation forecasts for the fifth straight week after the central bank left the benchmark rate unchanged at its board meeting last week.
Consumer prices will rise 5.38 percent over the next 12 months, according to the median forecast in a Dec. 10 central bank survey published today. That compares with a week-earlier forecast of 5.37 percent. Prices will increase 5.21 percent in 2011, the survey found, from a week-earlier prediction of 5.20 percent, the survey found.
Inflation expectations for 2011 have accelerated from 4.8 percent in August, according to the survey.
The eight-member central bank board, in a statement following its Dec. 9 meeting, said it faced a “less favorable scenario” than at its last meeting and that policy makers needed “more time” to gauge the economic impact of new reserve requirements on banks to curb the growth of credit. The statement failed to persuade analysts that the bank’s incoming president, Alexandre Tombini, will increase borrowing costs by enough to curb inflation.
Economists maintained their forecast that policy makers will increase the benchmark Selic rate to 11.25 percent in January, from 10.75 percent today. The bank will raise the rate 150 basis points, or 1.5 percentage points, next year, the survey found.
The yield on interest-rate futures contracts maturing in January 2012, the second-most traded on the Sao Paulo BM&F exchange, fell one basis points to 11.93 percent at 7:10 a.m. New York time.
Economists raised their 2010 gross domestic product growth forecast to 7.61 percent from 7.54 percent the previous week.
Consumer prices, as measured by the benchmark IPCA index, rose 5.63 percent in November from a year earlier and 0.83 percent from October, the biggest monthly increase since April 2005. The bank targets inflation of 4.5 percent plus or minus two percentage points.
Tombini, who has been on the bank’s board since 2005, won Senate committee approval to be the bank’s next president on Dec. 7. At his confirmation hearing he echoed remarks made by current bank President Henrique Meirelles that higher reserve levels would have an impact on the economy, even though they aren’t a substitute for traditional monetary policy tools.
Tombini will take over as central bank president from Meirelles in January if his appointment is approved by the Senate.
The real strengthened 2 percent to 1.7040 per U.S. dollar at 7:20 a.m. New York time.
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